Rafael Nadal is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, known for his powerful and aggressive playing style on the court. One of the key elements to his success is the racket he uses.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what racket does Rafael Nadal use, including the brand, specifications, and technology used in the racket, as well as his history of racket models, the impact on his game and his opinion on the racket.
Rafael Nadal’s Racquet – What Racquet Does He Use?
Rafael Nadal has been sponsored by the Spanish sportswear company, Babolat, for much of his professional career. Throughout his career, Nadal has used a variety of Babolat rackets on the court.
He has used Babolat rackets for both training and competition, and his racket choice has evolved over the years to reflect the latest technology and design from the brand.
Babolat is a global brand that is known for its high-quality tennis rackets and strings. The brand has a long history of sponsoring athletes and teams in the sport of tennis. Babolat has sponsored Rafael Nadal throughout his career and has provided him with the latest technology and design in their rackets. You can also check Best Tennis Racquet Brands
Babolat is known for its innovative racket technology such as the Cortex Pure Feel which is designed to increase the racket’s feel and sound, and the Woofer System, which provides a larger sweet spot and more power.
The racket used by Rafael Nadal is designed to provide the best performance on the court. It is made with a combination of advanced technology and materials to provide power, control, and stability. Some of the specifications of Nadal’s racket include:
|Head Size||100 in²|
|Strung Weight||343 grams|
|Balance||33.5cm (3pts HL)|
|String Pattern||16 x 19|
|Grip Style||Babolat Syntec Pro Black + Babolat VS Original White Overgrip|
|Grip Size||4 1/4″ (L2) + Overgrip|
These specifications are designed to give Nadal maximum control over his shots, with a heavy head for added power and a string pattern that allows for a larger sweet spot. The racket’s weight and balance also aid in his aggressive playing style.
He stayed loyal to the racquet he started with, changing only the paint job, throughout the years.
Rafa modified his racquet as follows:
- The weight increased by 3 grams in 2012 after his uncle Toni recommended it. Especially after losing to Djokovic multiple times in 2011, the goal was to find more power and length for his serves and groundstrokes.
- Nadal increased the racquet head weight by 2 grams in 2017. By winning two Grand Slams that year, it was evident that it affected his game positively.
- As a result of the smaller size of his grip compared to his height and weight, he added an overgrip in 2017. He was able to have a firmer grip thanks to this modification, which was useful for serving and volleying. In order to keep the same balance, the handle may be added weight.
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What Racquet Does Rafael Nadal Actually Use?
Currently, Nadal represents one of the most popular racquets on the market, the Babolat Pure Aero. At least one tennis court will be in use on a summer day if you visit a public tennis court.
Nadal, like most top players, uses a pro stock racquet, the Babolat AeroPro Drive Original, despite having the same design as the new Pure Aero.
Since 2004, Nadal has only added weight to this racquet and hasn’t changed it since.
When does Nadal change his racquet specs?
During his early days as a player, Rafael Nadal used a Soft Drive, then a Pure Drive, but in 2004, Babolat released the Aeropro Drive.
In 2012, after Djokovic had begun dominating, Nadal decided that the ball had to have more power on it to compete. Three grams were added to the head of the racquet as a result.
Nadal continues to use that specification today, adding another 2 grams at the top of the frame in 2017.
Nadal also changed racquets between changes five years ago. His Pure Aero prototype frame with the FSI drill pattern was used for the clay season’s start in 2015. His racquet of choice prior to the French Open was his old racquet.
What Size Grip Does Nadal Use?
Despite adding an overgrip to his racquet, Rafael Nadal uses an L2 grip size, which is relatively small for a guy who stands 6 feet tall.
There is a reason for this because of the way the game has changed. In the 1970s, Bjorn Borg’s wooden racquets had thicker grips due to the continental grip’s suitability for chunkier handles.
As spin takes over, a thinner grip size helps generate topspin and helps manipulate the racquet more easily.
If you watch Nadal at the net, you will notice how he holds his racquet much higher up towards his throat with a thinner grip.
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Why Does Nadal Use The Aero Pro Drive?
The majority of Nadal’s game revolves around heavy spin; both his grip and technique allow him to impart significant RPMs onto the ball.
An aerodynamic frame with an open, spin-friendly string pattern was designed to aid that purpose further with the Aero Pro Drive.
This racquet is designed solely for spin, with no other considerations. The Aero Pro Drive does not have touch or feel, which isn’t necessary since Nadal’s game is only about the easy put-away and he doesn’t often slice or drop shots.
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What Strings Does Rafael Nadal Use?
In order to string his racquet at 55lbs / 25kg, Rafael Nadal uses RPM Blast 15L/1.35.
Known for its enormous spin and controlled power, the RPM Blast string is one of the most popular strings on the market. With a 15L/1.35 gauge, he gets massive power and excellent control.
It is likely that Nadal is the player on the Tour with the highest numbers of RPM (rounds per minute).
RPM Blast is chosen because its surface is smooth and allows the strings to snap back and space out to increase spin.
The 15L/1.35 gauge is also the thickest and offers the best balance of softness and deadness.
The Rafa has control, spin, feel, and durability that big hitters are looking for.
There have been several changes in Nadal’s choice of strings over the years, including:
|Period||Model & Gauge||Tension (full bed)|
|2005 – 2008||Pro Hurricane 1.35||55lbs – 25kg|
|2009 – 2017||RPM Blast 1.35||55lbs – 25kg|
|2016||Luxilon Big Banger Original 1.30||55lbs – 25kg|
|2016 – 2022||RPM Blast 1.35||55lbs – 25kg|
Is Nadal’s Racquet Available?
Aero Pro Drives, which were launched back in the early 2000s, are available on eBay, ProStockTennis, and tennis forums.
Aero Pro Drive racquets are no longer in production, so you will need to find an old or new frame, or buy a used one.
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With some lead tape, an overgrip, and RPM blast, you can match Nadal’s specs fairly easily, since he doesn’t heavily customize his stock frame.
In addition, you could purchase and customize the new Babolat Pure Aero, which is not that different from the original. The following specs can be compared:
|Nadal’s Racquet||Babolat Pure Aero|
|Head Size||100 in² / 645.16 cm²||100 in² / 645.16 cm²|
|Length||27in / 68.58cm||27in / 68.58cm|
|Balance||13.19in / 33.5cm / 3pts HL||12.99in / 32.99cm / 4 pts HL|
|String Pattern||16 x 19||16 x 19|
|Grip Style||Babolat Syntec Pro Black + Babolat VS Original White Overgrip||Babolat Syntec Pro|
In conclusion, Rafael Nadal uses a racket made by Babolat called the Pure Drive. The Pure Drive is designed to deliver power and control, featuring a larger sweet spot, a more flexible beam and is lightweight.
This racket is made of graphite which makes it strong and lightweight, making it a great choice for high-performance rackets. The racket is well suited for Nadal’s aggressive and powerful style of play, allowing him to generate a lot of power and spin on his shots.
Before buying you must need to know the Different Parts of a Tennis Racquet. However, you can also read our guide on the Best Yonex Tennis Rackets of 2023. You may want to check out the Best Tennis Rackets Under $100 if your budget is tight. It may be a good idea for you to check out the Best Tennis Rackets for Tennis Elbow if you are experiencing tennis elbow problems
How do you feel about Nadal’s real racquet? Is it hard to handle based on the specs? Comment below and let me know what you think.