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A small historical lesson on why Babolat rackets are so popular

A small historical lesson on why Babolat rackets are so popular

When I watch old tennis video’s, it always amazes me that a lot of the world famous tennis brands are already there, but one… Dunlop? Yeah, been there for a while. Wilson? Yep, sure, one of the oldies. For sure even Slazenger, Wimbeldon’s favourite has been around for a long, long time. But Babolat never seemed to be there on the old pictures or clips. I couldn’t understand it actually, as Babolat rackets were all over the place when I was growing up and playing tennis. So in this article, I’ll take you through a bit of history to explain you why Babolat has gone from a relatively ‘unknown’ brand to one of the most popular brands in racket sports.

What country is Babolat from?

Babolat is a French tennis, badminton and padel equipment manufacturer, headquartered in Lyon, which is situated in the south of France. The brand is now well-know for it’s strings and rackets, but also makes a lot of other racket sports accessories.

Is Babolat a good tennis brand?

Babolat is definitely one of the greatest tennis brands (or better yet: racket sports brands). The equipment produced by Babolat is being used by recreational and professional players around the world. Pierre Babolat, the founder of the Babolat brand, created the first strings out of natural gut back in 1875. Since then, the company has started to optimise the production of racket strings. It wasn’t until 1994 that Babolat shifted it’s focus from only producing racket strings, to becoming a “total tennis” company by also selling racket frames in Europe. It soon expanded it’s sales to Japan and in the early 2000’s to the United States. Since then, sales of Babolat products have rapidly increased. In latest years, Babolat has become a pioneer in connected sport technology with the production of it’s first connected racket in 2014 and a connected wrist-wearable with it’s PIQ in 2015. The Babolat Pop, one of the most popular sensors on the market, is being used worlwide.

Why do people like Babolat rackets?

People like Babolat rackets because their playing characteristics appeal to a relatively large number of players, they are made poplar through sponsorships with professional players and their racket frames are well researched, designed and developed.

While Babolat produces a variety of tennis racket frames, it’s focus is on producing manoeuvrable, head light rackets with midplus head sizes has made the brand popular among spin generating, powerful, attacking players. Because of the playing characteristics of these frames, they are also popular among beginners of the sport.

Why are Babolat rackets so expensive?

Babolat rackets are so expensive because they need to be in order to recover costs for sponsorship deals, research and development and of course design. From a manufacturers perspective, we know a good estimate of the productions cost of modern day rackets (which we’ll cover in another post). While they can vary from brand to brand, they usually do only for the top models. However, Babolat prices their beginner rackets also on the higher end of the spectrum. This is possible, because of their brand reputation and loyal customers.

How much does a Babolat tennis racquet cost?

Babolat rackets are sold in the mid range to higher range of the racket price spectrum. The cheapest model I have sold was priced at 50 euro’s and the highest was 200 euro’s. However, not taking into account sales or discounts, I would estimate that the average Babolat frame would be sold around 120 euro’s.

Are Babolat rackets made in China?

Yes, Babolat rackets are manufactured in China (like many other rackets from well-known brands). However, a lot of counterfeits of these frames are also produced in China and trickle their way into the market. Please make sure to check you’re buying with an authorised dealer who buys directly from the Babolat brand, which designs the frames in France and coordinates production in China.

Which Babolat racquet is best?

The best Babolat racket, in my opinion, is the Babolat Pure Drive. Of course, different racket frames may suit different types of players better and in that regard, there is not really one best racket. However, through feedback from customers and my own personal playing experience, I would state that the Babolat Pure Drive accommodates the largest group of players of the modern game. It is very manoeuvrable, head light, powerful and well suited for spin, generating players. Even control oriented players will be able to play a decent game with the Babolat Pure Drive. Of course, the Babolat Pure Drive comes in three flavours: the Pure Drive Lite (265 grams), the Pure Drive Team (285 grams) and the (original) Pure Drive (305 grams). This build up in weight is very traditional for all brands and accommodates the beginner, advanced and expert phases of the tennis technique learning curve.

Is Babolat better than Wilson?

Babolat is definitely not a better tennis brand than Wilson, rather, I would argue more or less at the same quality level as Wilson. Also, it is very difficult to compare the brands as they traditionally focus on different player profiles of the tennis game. Whereas Babolat focuses more in the production of it’s frames on spin generating, attacking players, Wilson focuses more on control oriented, all round tennis players. However, a recent trend has become apparent in the (professional) game where the buildup of points and games becomes more and more based around powerful groundstrokes and serves. This change of style (as opposed to the more control oriented 90’s and early 2000’s)

Is Head better than Babolat?

This comparison is for sure harder to answer… The short answer, of course, is: no. A Head racket is not per definition a better racket than a Babolat racket. However, when you compare these brands in terms of their product ranges, then things become a bit more complicated. How do you actually define a better brand? Does it mean creating more, high quality products? Well, I wouldn’t know for sure if Head makes more, but I would guess Head beats Babolat at this point. However, Babolat is a great specialist in strings and racket accessories. They are know for their history and strings and the Babolat RPM Blast is one of the best selling strings on our platform. Then again, grips are quite essential to players and Babolat does not have a dedicated absorb overgrip, while Head does have one. You get where I’m going with this… beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder, I guess. If you would ask me, I would back up Head in this comparison because they have produced great products in the past and are also known for their great product lines in other sports, like winter and more recently padel.

Conclusion

Babolat is one of the great brands in tennis and racket sport history. With their French roots in racket string production, it has grown from a local business to a multinational company, sponsoring great athletes of recent years, like Carlos Moyà and Rafael Nadal. It is a quality brand, that puts great emphasis on playable design.

What about you? Do you have experience with playing with Babolat and if so, what do you think about their products? Please write it down below in the comment section and let me know.

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