Babolat AeroPro Control Racquets Review

Babolat's update to its popular Pure Control racquet, the AeroPro Control, features the same Aero Modular beam design as the AeroPro Drive that we reviewed earlier this year. Like the AeroPro Drive, the AeroPro Control combines an aerodynamic shaft with a more traditional head shape.

While the AeroPro Control does not conform to the straight, box beam design of the Pure Control, it does come in both Standard and Plus length versions at 27" and 27.5", respectively.

As Pure Control fans are aware, the Pure Control is available in both 98 and 100 square inch headsizes. However, the AeroPro Controls are only available in a 98 square inch headsize.

To see how the two new additions to Babolat's 'Control' series perform on the courts, we took them out for a three-week playtest.

AeroPro Control

Groundstrokes

The AeroPro Control proved to be a hit with our team at the baseline. Quickly finding the groove with his forehand was Brad. "Off the ground, the AeroPro Control was a solid performer. I especially enjoyed hitting my forehand with this racquet. My forehands were landing deep in the court with decent pace and a lot of spin. At times I felt that the ball was taking a higher trajectory and floating more than usual. I had some trouble keeping the ball down. My backhand with this racquet was good, but I struggled a bit with control. I wasn't able to place the ball as well as I wanted to." Finding a more powerful response from the AeroPro Control compared to his regular racquet was Chris. "I really liked this racquet when hitting groundstrokes. I found some nice pop from the weight and plenty of stability to boot. Both topspin and slice were easy to generate. This one had much more power than my Yonex RDX 500 Mid and the Nano Speed RQ 7 MP I've been hitting with lately. I was hitting the AeroPro Control with confidence once I got used to the added power. I was able to move the ball around the court with more control and confidence the more I played with the racquet. While I was over-hitting approach shots at first, after a few hitting sessions I was finding my targets and starting to be more aggressive. From a feel standpoint, like the original Aero Tour racquets, I thought this one responded well to soft strings and low tensions."

Granville found the AeroPro Control to exceed his expectations. "I had some preconceived notions of this racquet as I was not too fond of its initial iteration - the Aero Tour. To my delight the AeroPro is a great improvement. This racquet gave me the crisp response I am accustomed to in a performance racquet. The head light balance increased the maneuverability, which was further accentuated by the aerodynamic profile of the frame. It really works!" Comparing the AeroPro Control to the Pure Control was Josh. "Players familiar with the Pure Control should be satisfied with Babolat's new Aerodynamic remodel. The AeroPro Control was solid from the baseline. I was able to maintain my long, loopy strokes and swing away without worry of over-hitting. My backhand was controlled and had a little more topspin than usual. Forehands felt easy to hit and I noticed the ball jumped a little more when I moved closer to a full-western grip. As mentioned in the company's brief overview of the racquet, players will find a little more pop than the Pure Control offers."

Volleys

Our team found the AeroPro Control to offer a crisp and volley-friendly response at net. Finding his targets at net was Granville. "Once again I was very pleasantly surprised with the crisp response provided by this AeroPro. The blend of weight and balance makes for a formidable weapon when volleying. Solid feel with good punch, this racquet really is unique in the Babolat line. Touch volleys are also a treat as I was able to mix it up at the net with good precision." Also finding good results at net with the AeroPro Control was Josh. "The heavier weight of the AeroPro Control provided a solid feel on volleys. I didn't notice much twisting of the frame on off-center shots, and the racquet responded well to angle and touch shots. The racquet also felt a little more maneuverable than the Pure Control, without sacrificing stability. Overheads were easy to put away with this racquet. The spin potential helped maintain control when I was forced to move backwards and hit an off-balance overhead volley."

Chris said, "I volleyed well with this racquet. I was able to find my targets most of the time. When hitting too wide or deep, I could feel the miss immediately. All in all, I felt pretty well connected with the AeroPro Control at net. It offered a crisp response and good feedback." Brad continued to have success with the AeroPro Control when pushing forward to volley. "My volleys with this racquet were crisp and accurate. I would have liked a bit more feel on touch volleys, but for the most part I was able to place the ball where I wanted."

Serves

Our team found the AeroPro Control to offer a solid platform for consistent serving. Having as much success on serve as he finds from his regular racquet was Chris. "I enjoyed some good pace and kick on my serves with this racquet. I was able to get plenty of grip on the ball, resulting in some nice action on kickers out wide. Flat serves had good pace and the racquet felt solid through the contact zone. I served about as well with this racquet as I do with my regular racquet, although the experience was different. What I gained in pace I lost in feel and control. However, the results seemed to even out and my ability to hold serve (or not) remained unchanged."

Also finding his serving to be up to his usual standard was Granville. "Serving with the racquet was similar in many ways to serving with my Wilson Hyper ProStaff 6.1. I was getting good solid contact on flat serves down the middle and I was able to kick the slices wide at will. Nothing extra as far as power was noticed, just a good solid and consistent response."

Brad had his best results hitting spin serves with the AeroPro Control. "I struggled a bit hitting my flat first serves with this racquet. I found that I was hitting my serves long quite often. Spin serves were a different story. I felt like I was getting some good kick and depth on my second serves." Moving the ball around the service boxes and keeping his opponents guessing was Josh. "The racquet offered good pace on first and second serves but at times felt a bit weighty. I was able to place my serves in specific locations, giving me the opportunity to move my opponents around and keep them out of a rhythm. The AeroPro Control offered plenty of spin on second serves. Though my second serves didn't kick much higher than usual, they carried a bit more weight, which was effective against players with one-handed backhands."

Serve Returns

The AeroPro Control lived up to its name, with our team finding a controlled response on the return. Having good success was Brad. "Returns with the AeroPro Control were great. The weight and stiffness of the racquet made it easy to block back serves without having to worry about stability and control." Also finding a controlled response was Josh. "With the low to medium power level, I had to work a bit to hit deep returns. Having said that, I rarely hit returns long and could play aggressively without worry of over-hitting. The added topspin created by the AeroPro Control gave my returns more weight and kick. I was able to drive through my backhand slice returns, and I never felt at a disadvantage with this racquet. "

Both Granville and Chris found the weight and balance of the AeroPro Control well suited to their games. Granville said, "the AeroPro Control is massive enough to give you a good stable platform on the serve returns. I was very confident quickly with this racquet and was able to take the offensive and hit out when the time was right. When I was on the defensive, I could get the racquet out front and block the ball back with good targeting." Chris offered, "again, I liked the weight and balance of this racquet. It felt easy to get around when reacting to fast serves, yet there was ample weight and stability for the contact. There was enough pop that I could block fast serves back deep with little more than a volley type stroke. I also had good success being aggressive and going after my shots when given the opportunity."

Overall

While the AeroPro Control offers a similar power level and comparable access to spin as its Pure Control predecessor, the feel is quite different. Where we found a somewhat dampened response from the Pure Control, the AeroPro Control offers a crisper feel. Along with the crisper feel we also found slightly more power. All in all, the AeroPro Control seems to be one solid update, and should be on every advanced player's demo list.

Last Shots from our playtesters

Chris - "The AeroPro Control offered a little more pop than I expected. Once adjusted, I felt comfortable going after my shots and playing aggressively. If anything, I felt like I was missing some feel and touch shots compared to my regular racquets."

Brad - "Despite its name, the AeroPro Control provides a good balance of control and power that many people desire. I found that the stiffness of the frame combined with the higher swingweight gave this racquet quite a bit of pop, while its head light balance helped it maintain decent control. Those looking for an absolute control racquet should probably look elsewhere, but those looking for control and a bit more power will find this racquet to be a good choice. There is a generous sweetspot and the thicker beam width helps one swing through the ball without feeling much of the impact. I would have liked a bit more feedback from the racquet, but those who like a more muted feel will enjoy playing with the AeroPro Control. Between the AeroPro Control Standard and Plus, I felt more comfortable and enjoyed hitting more with the Standard."

Granville - "Nice stick - by far the best Babolat racquet for my game."

Josh - "I was impressed with the aerodynamic upgrade of the Pure Control. The AeroPro Control was comfortable, offered a little more spin potential and didn't stray too far from its predecessor. As with the Pure Control, the AeroPro Control is an excellent stick for doubles play. The 98 square-inch head size offers a little more court coverage, without sacrificing control, and is maneuverable in quick exchanges. Definitely check out this racquet if you have a couple of Pure Controls in your tennis bag."

Wilson nPro Test Results Chart
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)

Technical Specifications

Length27 inches69 centimeters
Head Size98 square inches632 square centimeters
Weight12 ounces340 grams
Balance Point12.75 inches
32 centimeters
6pts Head Light
Construction20 mm Head / 22 mm Shaft
CompositionHigh Modulus Graphite
String Pattern16 Mains / 19 Crosses

Babolat RDC Ratings

Score
Grade
Flex Rating70Range: 0-100
Swing Weight340Range: 200-400

AeroPro Control Plus

Groundstrokes

Our team found some nice power and a spin friendly response from the AeroPro Control Plus when hitting groundstrokes. Finding life at the baseline to be easy going was Josh. "Groundstrokes seemed effortless at times with the AeroPro Control Plus. I didn't have to work hard to keep my shots deep, and spin potential was satisfactory. I was able to mix things up with slices from the backhand side and my forehands seemed to jump more with the heavy topspin. The racquet felt a little hefty for its length, so I was forced to get the racquet back a little earlier than usual. Over the course of two sets, I began to feel some fatigue. While my groundstrokes had a fair amount of pace, shot placement was a bit erratic. I had trouble hitting winners down the line, which was probably a result of an inability to get the racquet back fast enough." Also hitting with plenty of spin and depth was Brad. "Groundstrokes with the AeroPro Control Plus were just as fun to hit as they were with the Standard. I found that I was getting better spin with the Plus with just as much depth on my shots. However, I also felt that the Plus had less control, and I tended to hit the ball long on occasion. Just like the Standard, I had trouble controlling my backhand shots and keeping them low. Slice shots were good and I was able to keep the ball from sailing."

Chris found some additional power in the AeroPro Control Plus. "The standard length AeroPro Control surprised me with its power, but this one had even more pop. This racquet had about as much power as I'd ever need from a player's racquet. Not surprisingly, missed shots were mostly missed deep. On the plus side, with the extra power I was able to hit a few blinding winners, too. As with the Standard, I thought this one lacked some feel - responding better with a soft string at a lower than mid tension. However, this did not jive with the power level as the lower string tension added more (unneeded) power. Fortunately, I found this racquet very spin friendly and I was able to take some depth off my shots with both topspin and slice." Granville found the Plus to play somewhat like the Standard length AeroPro Control. "Very similar to the Standard version AeroPro Control. The story here is the extra length and added head light feel to accommodate players looking for that extra length advantage. Babolat has nailed it. Still has good solid feel and maneuverability - very similar to the Standard version - a big plus in my mind."

Volleys

The AeroPro Control Plus continued to impress our team at the net. Enjoying some good pop on his volleys with the AeroPro Control Plus was Chris. "I didn't mind the more powerful response at net. I was able to find effortless depth on half volleys and tough pick ups. High volleys could be dispatched with plenty of pace and volleying in general required little more effort than getting the racquet to the ball. Touch and feel improved with lower string tensions, but was still not up to par compared to other longer player's racquets (Dunlop M-FiL 200 Plus, Fischer Pro 1 FT, Yonex Nano Speed 7 MP). This one was not as dampened as the original Pure Control racquets at net. There was more power in the AeroPro Control Plus, but less feel compared to the Pure Control Plus. Maneuverability between the two was very comparable." Josh also found the AeroPro Control Plus to offer a powerful response at net. "The AeroPro Control Plus didn't have the best 'feel' on volleys, but the racquet had generous pop and I was able to end points quickly. The extra length seemed to make a difference when I had to stretch wide for a passing shot, especially during doubles play. As with my groundstrokes, I had to get in good positions for overheads, otherwise I didn't get the racquet around in time to put the ball down."

Brad struggled to find his groove at net with the AeroPro Control Plus. "I didn't feel as comfortable hitting volleys with the Plus as I did with the Standard. I felt like I was having trouble adjusting to the extra length and wasn't making good contact with the ball." Faring better was Granville. "The extra length didn't hurt, maneuverability, which would be my primary concern with the racquet. No issues, just solid and stable with good touch and feel.

Serves

On serves the AeroPro Control Plus offered plenty of pop, good access to spin and some nice weight of shot. Finding the least amount of advantage in the added length was Granville. "Here is where that extra length may play a part in racquet selection. While I did not find any appreciable bump in power, perhaps a 4.5 player may. Other than that, I did not find too much difference between the two racquets."

The rest of our team found a much more pronounced difference between the Standard and Plus length AeroPro Controls. Josh said, "I noticed a huge difference on serves between the AeroPro Control Plus and the Standard length model. My service game stepped up significantly with the extra half-inch. My location was a bit off, but I still found a generous amount of spin on second serves. My first serves had a nice balance of weight and pace, making the body serve an excellent option." Brad was in agreement. "Right away I could see the benefits of having the extra length on my serves. I was able to generate more power on my first serve and my second serve had more kick to it compared to the Standard. I definitely enjoyed serving more with the Plus than the Standard." Also finding some additional power was Chris. "I find power to be a very good thing when it comes to serving. Power is even better when it comes with some heft. This racquet has both power and heft. Needless to say I enjoyed serving with this stick. I found lots of pace, spin and consistency. I felt like I could continue to crank serves well into a third set with this one. The weight and balance made for a racquet that was easy to snap through contact, yet offered enough mass to be solid and comfortable."

Serve Returns

Our team found a solid mixture of power, control and maneuverability returning with the AeroPro Control Plus. Having plenty of success on the return was Brad. "Returns with the AeroPro Control Plus were very comparable to the AeroPro Control. The racquet was very stable and I was able to block balls back with ease." Granville also found the Plus to play similarly to the Standard when returning. "I was impressed in the fact that I did not notice any significant differences between these two racquets. I was especially sensitive to this fact on the serve return where the maneuverability issue is vital. Again, this racquet is a solid performer."

Finding some nice pop on his returns was Chris. "As previously stated, I was finding plenty of power with this racquet. This translated well when blocking serves back, but required a little more care when being aggressive. Mobility was good and the racquet felt stable at impact." Also returning well with the AeroPro Control Plus was Josh. "The racquet definitely did the work on return of serve. Even if I was slow in getting the racquet back, the weighty AeroPro Control Plus allowed me to return more first serves than usual. I was able to drive through serves hit high to my backhand side. I did have a tendency to hit second serves long because I tried to be too aggressive. When I sat back and hit nice even strokes, the racquet had enough pop to put me on the offensive."

Overall

We found the AeroPro Control Plus to offer a bit more firepower from most areas of the court without sacrificing maneuverability. Where some extended length racquets can feel harder to get around, the AeroPro Control Plus hides its extra half-inch well. Again, players will most likely notice some added pop compared to the Pure Control Plus, with a similar spin friendly response. If you're looking for a player's racquet that offers a bit more pop, some useful heft and a crisp response you should definitely check out the AeroPro Control Plus.

Last Shots from our playtesters

Chris - "If you're looking for a powerful player's racquet, this one fits the bill."

Brad - "For those who find that the Standard version doesn't pack enough punch for them or who are looking for more pop on their serves, this racquet is definitely worthy of a test drive. I found that the AeroPro Control Plus played similar to its standard length counterpart. Babolat did a good job at balancing out the Plus so that one does not notice the extra length very much. The one thing I did notice was the extra power and spin from the Plus."

Granville - "Another solid performer."

Josh - "As with most plus racquets, my serves were huge but my groundstrokes were less controlled. The weight of the AeroPro Control Plus makes the racquet more appealing than most extended frames, but its not for everyone. Players with good footwork and racquet preparation should enjoy the pace and spin potential offered by this racquet."

Wilson nPro Test Results Chart
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)

Technical Specifications

Length27.5 inches70 centimeters
Head Size98 square inches632 square centimeters
Weight12 ounces340 grams
Balance Point12.5 inches
32 centimeters
10pts Head Light
Construction20 mm Head / 22 mm Shaft
CompositionHigh Modulus Graphite
String Pattern16 Mains / 19 Crosses

Babolat RDC Ratings

Score
Grade
Flex Rating70Range: 0-100
Swing Weight345Range: 200-400
Playtester Profiles
Chris 5.0 baseline player currently using a Yonex RDX 500 Midsize. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.
Josh 4.0 all court player currently using a Wilson ProStaff Original 85. Josh has a long, loopy swingstyle, hits with a one-handed backhand and a semi-western forehand.
Granville 5.5 all-court player currently using a Hyper ProStaff 6.1. Granville is an aggressive player who uses an eastern forehand grip and goes continental on everything else, hits with a flat swing and a one-handed backhand.
Brad 3.5-4.0 baseline player currently using a Yonex RDX 500 Midplus. Brad uses a semi-western forehand grip, has a medium swing style and hits a two-handed backhand.

Review date: October 2005. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

All content copyright 2005 Tennis Warehouse.

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