Rafael Nadal’s Racquet – Things You Didn’t Know About the Lethal Weapon

Published 12/31/2019, 7:05 AM EST


Rafael Nadal has been on the top of the ATP Tour since a decade and a half. The Spaniard has built a legacy for himself, which has enticed tennis fans from all over the world. However, with his continuous victories on the ATP Tour, one thing has also remained the same – Rafael Nadal’s racquet.

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Nadal has been endorsed by Babolat for his on-court equipment. Babolat has designed the Pure Aero, that is, the AeroPro Drive racquet for him in 2004. Since then, the Spaniard has been using the same Babolat AeroPro Drive racquet with slight customized changes all over his career.

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Rafael Nadal currently plays with the original Babolat Aero Pro Drive from 2005, which is under a paint job of the Babolat Pure Aero. Like most of the players, he uses a customized version, making slight adjustments to its’ weight and balance.

Rafael Nadal’s racquet at the beginning of his career

At the beginning of his career, Nadal played with the Babolat Soft Drive. However, he soon started to use the Pure Drive during his early years in the game. The CEO of Babolat, Eric Babolat explained that they decided to build a racquet completely adapted to his game. Hence the racquet was designed to generate more power and spin.

This is how the unique Babolat Aeropro Drive (now Pure Aero) racquet was born. It was designed with the technical collaboration of players and the Babolat’s research and development team in 2004.

Rafael Nadal’s racquet adjustment in 2012 and 2017

The first adjustment in Rafael Nadal’s racquet took place in 2012. Nadal was going through a rough time as he was emerging from a difficult season with a series of defeats against Novak Djokovic. In an attempt to end the streak, the Mallorcan added 3 grams, which would help him to put “more” spin and power on the ball.

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Five years later in 2017, Nadal made another adjustment to his racquet. He added 2 more grams at the same place – at the top of the frame. The weight of the racquet is increased by adding a strip of lead at the top of the frame, which increases the powerful hammering effect of the racquet. Apart from these strips of lead, there is no intervention on Nadal’s racquet.

How many racquets does Nadal use in a year?

Nadal doesn’t use too many racquets in a season. He uses a maximum of thirty racquets per year. It can also be noted that the 19-time Grand Slam champion is one of the few players in the world who can claim to never have broken a racquet voluntarily.

“On average, Rafa is given 6-8 racquets four times a year,” said Jean-Christophe Verborg, director of global sports marketing at Babolat. Nadal uses these 6-8 frames until the grips begin to mold to the shape of his hand and this is when he gets the best feeling. “Especially for Rafa who, because of his rather unique grip, it’s important for him to work the grip until it is perfectly adapted to his hand,” Jean-Christophe added.

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Microsensors attached in Nadal’s racquet

Nadal plays with the Pure Aero racquet, which is equipped with microsensors attached in it. This microsensor helps to collect important data – the number of shots, area of impact, power, effect and more. These data are useful to his team in practice and getting useful insights of the match.

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Rafael Nadal’s racquets specifications as of 2021

  • Babolat AeroRro Drive Original 2005 Babolat Pure Aero Paint Job
  • 17g lead: 12g at top and 5g in the handle
  • Length: 27inch
  • Head Size: 100 inch
  • Grip: Babolat Syntec Pro Black + Babolat Vs Original White
  • Grip Size: 4 1/4″ + Overgrip
  • Dampener: Babolat Custom Damp
  • Balance Strung: 335 mm
  • Swing Weight: 360
  • String: Babolat RPM blast 1.35
  • String pattern: 16×19
  • Stiffness: 72

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Varun Khanna

1334 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.

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