Babolat’s new strings

A promo for the new Babolat strings featuring interviews with Tsonga, Roddick, Rafa and Toni.

Posted by BABOLATWorld.

48 Responses

  1. NCRafa says:

    In Tsonga’s interview, what does “scratching” the ball mean?

  2. Kate says:

    umm why do we have to have a translation for the English speakin guys!

    • Alan says:

      because babolat isnt trying to ONLY promote their products in america, there are plenty of other countries with talented tennis players that they are trying to sell their products to

  3. An says:

    I wanna have this strings!:)

    • sia says:

      An it would be great to see YOU play with those new strings. Do you use a Babolat Racquet?

      • An says:

        Sia, yes off course i do use a Babolat Racquet…. How could i not, No?;)
        I have two pure storm racquets and i realy would love to try out the new strings!

  4. faeaki7 says:

    Hey my son plays with a Babolat and will be wanting to change his strings to these now!
    Definately love Rafa speaking Spanish, he has a lovely horse accent.!

  5. jimmy says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s typical of Babolat. First with a low key ( ) promo on their website and now this video. They still haven’t released the details about the strings. I’m dying to know how different they are from the polyester setup of Pro Hurricane tour (PHT). Is it something b/w Duralast and PHT?

    That said, Roddick is probably still using his hybrid strings, Tsongs his usual thinner gauge (and maybe a real cortex too!) and let’s hope we can get some pics from Nadal’s stringing room to know more about his setup. There are rumors that Nadal still has the 15L Duralast custom dyed to black. But I think he’s changed, or at least it looked like that in Abu Dhabi/Doha.

    Looks like there was a rush job at Babolat for this. It’s already Feb, and I don’t see the RPM blast or the APDGT frame anywhere in the US. I’m gonna get one as soon as I can lay my hands on it. Pretty soon the word will be in the players locker room too..

    • Missy says:

      Hey Jimmy,
      Do you use Pro Hurricane tour with a cortex? Or one without?
      I’ve read that although Rafa had the painting job of one with a cortex, he was actually using his original without one.

      A lot of people tend to feel that a racket without a cortex is a lot better. They also think that the extra money they charge for a racket with a cortex is not worth it. Problem is, it’s nearly impossible to find one of Rafa’s racket’s WITHOUT one. I don’t think they sell them anymore.

      I’d be surprised if Tsonga is using a racket with an actual cortex. Also, in Rafa’s on court interview with Jim Courier, Rafa specifically said that it wasn’t just a new color (black) it was a new string. Hmmm, have you noticed any difference in his strokes? I noticed throughout the AO that he was hitting with a lot of depth, and he was flattening out the ball, but I put that down to Rafa’s willingness and intention to be more aggressive, as apposed to the string change.

      • Pheeasant Plucker says:

        Probably both: new strings help him to be more aggressive, so he’s more willing to play that way. At this point, anything that helps with his shot depth has gotta be good.

  6. Emma R says:

    Always nice to see Rafa, but bring back the Twin Peaks hamsters, I say.

  7. Atch2 says:

    Happy with whatever you use Rafa and make you play better, bec I can’t process all this string sophisticated info.

  8. jimmy says:

    Hiya Missy,

    I use a APDC which is the one “with” the cortex. As you rightly said, people have different views w.r.t the usefulness of a cortex. For me personally, the cortex was a revelation. It gave me the pop that I needed, I served better (esp. the 2nd serve) and I’ve read that the cortex muffles the feel of the ball while protecting your arm and generating more power. I haven’t had any arm injuries. So I thought the extra $$ were well spent. But then maybe I’m biased, since I haven’t used Rafa’s non cortex pure drive for any extended period of time.

    Also as you pointed out correctly, Nadal is definitely “not” using the cortex it’s surely a paint-job (pj) as the close up pics show (in contrast to Tsonga’s racquet where the cortex looks raised). While the new APDC GT is undoubtedly a extremely good racquet, changing the racquet at this stage would be a huge jump for Nadal as it plays completely differently and even the sound is different. You mentioned that you can’t find Rafa’s racquet without a cortex. I think you should try to get the earlier Aero pure drive models from Babolat which don’t have the cortex and that’s pretty much what Nadal uses (with pj). It’s just a different matter that Babolat always puts Nadal’s name on their new frames and strings. So the strings which say “Pro Hurricane Tour Nadal” in reality should be “Tour Duralast Nadal” and the APDC GT should be the APD if they really wanted to give us what Rafa used.

    Regarding the strings, I’ve been following all the developments very keenly. For several years, I’ve often wondered why Nadal uses Duralast since it’s such a dead no power string. The PHT is definitely a little better in terms of durability and spin, but “not” feel. I also know that Nadal has tested the PHT strings several times in the past, but rejected them. Given all this, I was skeptical of the claims that Rafa’s new black string is PHT. However now the reports suggest that he’s using the new prototype RPM blast ( another video: which makes sense. I thought he did get extra zip on his groundies in Abu Dhabi and Doha but the same wasn’t as noticeable in AO. Again that could be because of the tension. The tension obviously is extremely important at the top level and especially for Nadal who take 5 identically strung racquets for each match and gets 2-3 strung during the match from those used up.

    Either way the only concrete information on the strings would be once we get real pics from the stringing room. The skeptics still feel that Rafa’s strings are a pj, but I’ll go with what Rafa said to Jim Courier (although even that could be construed as a marketing stunt).

    Right now it seems that the prototype RPM blast strings don’t even have new packaging. Reports from the AO stringing room ( were that the “new” black strings were packed as PHT black. Seems like the RPM blast will only come in April 2010 worldwide (and it will be expensive too). Of course the APDC GT is available in Europe right now (comes in the US on Feb 16th..I’m counting the days!).

    Finally, I suspect Nadal has much bigger problems right now than his racquet and strings. But I’m hoping that once he’s used to the strings and gets his groundies under control he will take on the new APD GT (graphite tungsten) and tame that boomerang as well :)

    • Jinx says:

      Thanx jimmy!!!! Your comment helped me a lot. I´m plaing the Babolat Aeropro Drive with Cortex and the PHT srings and I must say I love it. … right down my alley. I have Rafa´s non cortex pure drive racquet too but I prefer the one with Cortex due to wrist issues :-( ….feels quite smooth
      I hope his new racquet (on order) is a upgrade…VAMOS!!!!

      • jimmy says:

        Jinx: I am not sure at what level you play but I’ve felt that PHT is for those who prefer to have control over power. It has great durability and spin but not as much feel. That’s why the pros prefer to use it. If you’re looking to get more stick, I would say try alu power or revenge and nvy as a hybrid. PHT just feels weak and (slightly) dead to me. Of course this might not be so useful if you’re really playing competitively at a very advanced level (in which case I apologize).

        I agree with you about the cortex being easy on the body. That’s been my experience as well. Also the new APDC GT is supposed to be a very good frame. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    • Emma R says:

      Hi, I just wondered what you meant by “I suspect Nadal has much bigger problems right now than his racquet and strings”? Do you mean the injuries or the confidence issues, or is there something else?

      You seem like an absolute expert and I got the jitters a bit when I read that. Cheers.

      • jimmy says:

        Thanks. I am not a expert, just a tennis lover and a Nadal fan like the rest of you folks. The problems are in line with what you said. Not a very encouraging sight to see Rafa’s body breaking down so early and him loosing to Murray even while playing well.

        It’s a terrible tale really. I’ve never seen this before: a great player’s prime being brutally cut when he was starting to dominate tennis. The tennis world flipped over. And while there were winners in this, Nadal was obviously the loser. Still Nadal is an all-timer. He can hold his head high. He’s been remarkable since his comeback and his effort at the AO was honest and immense. He’s always been willing to work hard, so let’s hope that he comes back challenging again..

        • Emma R says:

          Appreciate the clarification. I hope he can bring it back too. I will always love and follow tennis, but if Rafa was to really slide because his body folds, one of the lights of the game will really go out.

        • CC says:

          Although I tend to agree with some of the things you say, Jimmy, I think that a “terrible tale” it is not.
          For someone like Rafa, who started playing on such a high level when so young, I think it’s inevitable that things at some point catch up with you. In this case, both the body and the mind. I am sure that Rafa can overcome his “difficulties” (if that is what they are) and once again dominate tennis. If not, I am sure that Rafa along with most of us thinks that he’s had the most fantastic careera anyway.

        • Ch F says:

          But the problem isn’t just hard work. I’m sure mentally he’ll be better this time because he managed to play very well after the injury so he knows he can get his rhythm back. But I fear he won’t trust his body anymore, he won’t play his natural game and this will only cause confidence issues again.

          It is sad indeed. It is even sadder that we already refer to it as if we knew Rafa’s best time is in the past. I know it’s because we’re concerned. Sometimes I tell myself it is too sad to be true and too unfair for great players to go down like this. So I hope Rafa doesn’t.

          • An says:

            He’s only 23…. i think we will have him around for some more time! I’m convinced that we haven’t seen the best off our Rafa jet…. things can change so quickly in tennis…
            Don’t listen or reed the story’s about Rafa’s body breaking down or that it can only go downhill with Rafa’s careera from here on!!

            Remember Fed after last years AO? The press was writing him off, the discussion of him not even being the G.O.A.T was running high, and look now…

            Rafa is a verry strong young man, lets be glad we are able to withness his already so great run in the tennis world and lets believe in him and support him, no mather what’s still to come or not, No?
            VAMOS RAFA!

            • Ch F says:

              Of course we will support him, that’s a given fact! But Federer has been a bit luckier, not that he isn’t a great player of course.
              Let’s hope all the luck is still ahead for Rafa together with his best years ;-)

              • Emma R says:

                Roger hasn’t had the injuries, I think that is the difference. His temporary wig out also coincided with impending fatherhood which I think would freak anyone out. He has never lost the hunger for the slams either, despite his record.

                I think Roger’s position in early 2009 was a far easier place to come back from than where Rafa is at now, and there seems to be far more “cause and effect” with Rafa that forms a cycle that I don’t know how he can break: his game and physique tend to cause injuries, his injuries cause breaks, he loses rhythm and confidence, just gets it back, then gets injured again and the cycle repeats. Given that the US hardcourt is looming and the issues first cropped up around Miami (?) it’s been nearly a year that he’s been on this cycle.

                I agree he has had a marvellous career and I am so grateful for all the wonderful matches he has given us, but I would find it tough to watch if he went the same route as say Leyton Hewitt.

                • Jinx says:

                  “I agree he has had a marvellous career and I am so grateful for all the wonderful matches he has given us, but I would find it tough to watch if he went the same route as say Leyton Hewitt.”

                  Emma R I agree with you . That’d break my heart into a thousand pieces :-(

                  I love you Rafael….will always do………

                  • CC says:

                    Nah, Rafa wouldn’t end up like Lleyton. He’d have left the tour long before he got to that stage. I’ve always thought that if Rafa doesn’t have chances to win big tourneys, he’ll be gone. He’s got far more exciting things to get on with in life.
                    You know, beach, beach, golf, golf, Mallorca, Mallorca…no?

            • Delta says:

              Agree An, temporary setback for someone who has achieved sooooo much in his young careera, still has a winning record against Fed in GS and if correcto Fed’s other “V’s” in GS were won vs. other opponents:) Sod, Roddick, no? There you go, no? Give him credit and si he beat Rafa on clay @ Madrid, (1000) but again injury played a part to most not privy to his (at the time) “chronic tendonitis and that was the “physical part of it”. The emotional aspect off the court was somewhot becoming public, so needless to say he’s faired well given all adversities. Fuck some of the ignorant press as they know not, no? Just want a storyline, no?
              As to “whot’s” to come, well in one word….. Greatness!

              • Delta says:

                And of course most recent vs .Moooray @ AO. Hell he’s no question a tremendous talent (Fed) w/o Babolat. We do have 2010 w/Rafa & new strings, (when he’s ready) Maybe sooner than later. “Never say never” as we all know, lots of talent out there, but Rafa is a Major force to reckon with;-
                new strings or not, no?

    • Missy says:

      Jimmy, thanks a lot for your lengthy and detailed reply. It’s mucho apriciar! :))

      About the cortex: I was lucky enough to have used Rafa’s original PureDrive without a cortex (borrowed from a friend), I then also tried one WITH a cortex. The main reason why I don’t like the cortex, and one of the reasons why I’d think the pros prefer to play without one, is that you sort of loose the feel for the ball.

      Like you said, it “muffles” the feel of the ball. I used a vibration dampener to ease the negative vibrations that can give you terrible Tennis Elbow, wrist pains, and shoulder aches. But playing with a cortex, for me, is like watching a music video on “mute”. You KNOW what they words are, you KNOW what it’s supposed to sound like, but you can’t. I tried fining an Aero Pro Drive without a cortex, to no avail. I think Bablolat, sadly, discontinued that line.

      I find the marketing ploy routine that companies engage in to be very misleading and confusing. You think you’re after one thing, only to find out you actually want another, but your stuck with something else.

      AS for Tsonga, I was extremely surprised that he opted to switch from ‘Head’ (?) to Babolat. Out of all the players I thought he’d be the least likely to choose a Bablolat. Reason being, he’s an attacking style player – who hits FLAT. I sense that with the Bablolat racket you generate lots of spin, but it generate as much spin as Rafa – with the accuaracy, lenght, speed, power – you just have to be super/duper/extra/special and have the name “Rafael Nadal”. What’s more, you have to be patient. You have to be willing to stay in the point and to construct your rallies. Tsonga never stuck me as a “patient” player. He’s more like a Gonzolez, they always want to go for the winner, and they spank the ball flat.

      When Tsonga played in the AO this year with his Babolat, I felt that his shots were falling unusually short (due to the topspin he was attempting to apply). It’s a surprising change for him because he is essentially changing his entire philosophy and style of play! Is that even possible to do? Plus, I just don’t think he can generate the necessary racket head speed to get the zip, kick and action on the ball. What do you think?

      Jimmy, seeing as you’re a male, I wanted to ask you something about “grips”. During one of Rafa’s on court interviews with Jim Courier, Jim commented on how small Rafa’s grip was. I believe Rafa said it was a 2? What does that mean with regards to Rafa? What size is your grip in comparison to his? Is that one of the reasons why Rafa wears those adorable precautionary bandages on his fingies all the time because he grips the “smaller grip” very tightly?

      Thanks :))

      • jimmy says:

        Sorry about missing this. Regd grips: I think according to the official stats Nadal uses a 4 1/4 “L2” – which is what he told Courier. [ The most common grip sizes are 4 5/8, 41/2, 4 3/8, 4 1/4, and 4 1/8 which are commonly referred as L5, L4, L3, L2 and L1]. I think the reason why Courier called size 2 a small is because during his era most players used large size grips. I think Pete Sampras used grip of size 4 5/8 (along with the overgrip) which is a L5 and Lendl was something similar. The smaller grips are harder on the wrist and have less stability than the larger grips. I guess these days the top pros use smaller grip size as it enables them to generate more racquet head speed through their wrist and thus get more spin. From what I know, Fed uses a size 3 (4 3/8) which is one larger than Nadal. This is even though both of them have decent sized hands which would ordinarily suggest larger grips.

        Of course I use the normal L5 (recently tried L4 with replacement grip and overgrip), but obviously I can’t play like Rafa and generate that incredible racquet head speed / spin. And of course I don’t need ( read can’t generate) that much wrist action anyway. Not unless I want to hurt my wrist. BTW interesting pt about the blisters and the bandages. Although the blisters are common, large hands using a smaller grip might well exacerbate the condition thus necessitating precautionary bandages.

        Regarding Tsonga, I’m sure he uses a thinner gauge on his Babolat and I don’t think his setup is all that different from his older Head one. It also looks like he’s using a real cortex. That said, I think your observations on Tsonga’s play and your (own) experiences with the cortex are very interesting. Thanks for sharing them!

        I would say Tsonga has done well with the switch. I guess, if you reach a grandslam SF after a change of racquet, you must be doing something right! I thought Tsonga played very well at the AO until he “wimped” out against Federer. ( On a side note, why does that seem to happen a lot? Seems like all Federer has to do is show up and say – Hi! I am Roger Federer! I though Tsonga’s SF and Davydenko’s 13 games drought in the QF was an embarrassing exhibition for the competitiveness of the sport. 15 yrs ago these guys wouldn’t be in the top 10..)

  9. I had the luck of playtesting the new string in the beginning of January in Monte Carlo and it’s very different than anything Babolat has put on the market till now. I think it will be a huge hit. It really gives you more power and spin but the most important for me is that it has a much softer feel to it. When you hit the ball it feels very smooth.

  10. Jinx says:

    jimmy thanx again! I like your comments very much ;-)
    You are right ybout the PHT and the power(less) feeling …this is my own experience too. I´m playing with lots of spin but I´m missing the power of my strokes on hard court :-(
    I got my new Babolat Aeropro Drive GT racquet today *so happy* I wanted to string the racquet with the babolat rpm blast but these strings are not available in Europe right now :-(
    I will try luxilon alu power or babolat reverige or maybe xcel power….I’m curious about it! SOMAV!!!

  11. Ch F says:

    Exactly. Roger is luckier partly because he hasn’t suffered serious injury. It’s not just the way he plays that protects him, injuries can be due to other things you can’t control and Roger just didn’t have to deal with this.
    I also agree it would be very sad for Rafa to be another Hewitt. I really don’t know how he’ll break the cycle. Hopefully he can take it where he left off this time and not start all over again. Plus he never found the calm he used to have, that’s important and it costs him a great deal.

  12. Jinx says:

    A guy from TW got Rafa’s actual 2010 AO racquet from the auction and NO CORTEX…………………….!!! I feel messed around now….:-/ … 286&page=8

  13. jimmy says:

    For those who are interested, Babolat France has issued a press release on the RPM Blast String-


    RPM Blast (Revolutions Per Minute) is a monofilament string that gives players more spin, more power and a unique feel at ball impact. “With this new string, I have more spin, and it helps me hit deeper. We have worked hard with Babolat,” explains Rafael Nadal.

    A pleasant surprise is the suggested retail price of $16.95! I had thought it would be more expensive. Strings are scheduled to be available in April 2010 (with 16th April in the United States)

    • Jinx says:

      Thanx jimmy :-) I agree. The case with his racquet is getting stranger and stranger…It drives me crazy!

      I´m so curious!!!!I can hardly wait till April….Don’t get out of patience jinx…try to stay with “colm”;-)