Dominic Thiem entered Roland Garros as the returning finalist, and repeated that performance with wins over Novak Djokovic, Karen Khachanov and Gael Monfils. He brought the same monster strokes that earned him his first Grand Slam runner-up appearance, but there’s something slightly different now. Unlike last year, Thiem is now wielding the brand-new, third generation of his racquet, the Babolat Pure Strike.
From its clean looks to its all-court performance, the previous version of the Pure Strike was an outright hit. So the brand worked closely with its players to determine what minor tweaks they could institute to evolve the frame without tampering with its strengths. Power and spin production were deemed just about right, pushing the focus to more refined goals. It was decided that the intent for this newest model was to tighten the control while providing better feel and responsiveness.
Babolat partnered with SMAC, a company that specializes in producing high-performance damping materials, to come up with a substance that will help soak up shock at impact. The resulting technology has already been introduced into the Pure Drive and Pure Aero franchises, and takes its next step in the Pure Strike. Dubbed C2 Pure Feel, it’s the latest generation of the vibration filtration system designed to improve the overall responsiveness at contact.
Control Frame Technology is the other chief innovation with the Pure Strike. Once again, the racquet employs a hybrid beam that combines the stability and precision of a square shape with the punch of an elliptical design. Unlike the Pure Drive and Pure Aero frames which dial up the power and spin, the Pure Strike is more control-oriented, and internal testing has shown this newest one to beat its predecessor when it comes to shot command.
The new Pure Strike also preserves the strong identity of the predominantly white frame. However, new visual elements—urban and contemporary graphics, striking red font and bumper—give this version some added aggression to match the overall clean aesthetic. In addition, there will be an accompanying racquet bag, backpack, duffel, Jet Mach II shoes and other accessories to outfit the Pure Strike player from head to toe.
Test frames of the Pure Strike 100 and Pure Strike Team will be available at retailers starting in June. The entire Pure Strike family—which also includes the Pure Strike 16x19, Pure Strike 18x20, and new Pure Strike Tour—will go on sale in the U.S. on August 22.
Reflect on Roland Garros and look ahead to the grass season on the TENNIS.com Podcast: