Welcome to the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT and GT Plus review.
The first thing that is immediately apparent is both the standard and plus length versions of this racquet have been updated with Babolat's graphite tungsten construction. Of course, Babolat's Cortex technology is still evident in the shaft of the racquet for improved feel.
With this GT version, we are finding an even more solid feel from all areas of the court. The actual spec of the racquets has remained very similar. Again, both the standard and plus come in stiffer and heavier than the regular Pure Drive GTs.
It's that added weight and stiffness that makes both of these racquets special to me. Whereas I feel the regular Pure Drives are great everyman racquets, these Roddick versions are ideally suited for stronger intermediate through advanced players.
For power and stability you need either a racquet with a stiff beam or one with some mass to it. With the Pure Drive Roddick GT and GT Plus, you get both. That's what I truly love about these racquets. They are easy to maneuver; yet they offer excellent power and stability. That combination is something many tennis players refer to as plow through and both of these racquets plow through contact exceptionally well.
Let's start out with the Pure Drive Roddick GT Plus. Now, I usually prefer standard length racquets, but after spending a month on court with this one it has definitely improved my impression of longer racquets. The extra half-inch of length helps me find even more plow through and power from the baseline. The racquet doesn't come around quite as quickly which is one downside of the added length. However, I still find the mobility decent and I am more than happy with the racquet head speed I am getting.
With the standard length racquet, I have to work a little harder to get the power and penetration I find with the Plus. The upside is greater mobility when I need to quickly whip the racquet through in defensive situations and when trying to deal with balls landing near my feet.
During match play I have been playing slightly better tennis with the Plus and that has been a surprise . I have to admit I prefer the feel of the Standard, but I wining points seems easier with the Plus. I think what it comes down to is the added power and penetration wins out over the Standard, even though the length of the Standard feels more natural to me.
I was also serving better with the Plus. The serve is such a huge part of competing and my opponents have a harder time returning my serve with the Plus. I was still very impressed with the pace and spin from the Standard length version, but it doesn't quite live up to what I find with the Plus. The difference is slight, but again I tip my hat to the Plus for performance. Both are great on serve and both really help me maximize my serving potential. It's not surprising both carry Roddick's signature, as they are ideal for the player looking to serve big.
I was also very impressed with the feel and response of these racquets at net. Pure Drives are popular racquets with both men's and women's professional doubles players and these Roddick versions offer a crisp and clean feel at impact. At net I prefer the Standard length version. I feel I can get it into place faster and can measure the pace and depth of my volleys better. While neither one offers the kind of buttery response I usually associate with feel and control at net, the feel is so clean and crisp that I feel very connected to me targeting.
I tested the Cortex predecessors of these racquets and was so impressed with the Standard length version it became my racquet of choice for about a two-year period. I think Babolat have taken an impressive step forward with this GT update. Both of these racquets feel even more solid and stable compared to the previous Cortex version.
Looking at string set up my ideal choices is a co-polyester string. There's so much power to be had, I need to get some control from the stringbed so a co-poly it is. With string selection dialed in, picking between the two comes down to personal preference -- increased power with the Plus or better maneuverability with the Standard? Whichever one you choose, you're going to be serving bombs and unloading on groundstrokes.