The Pure Drive and Blade 98 are very popular on the ATP and WTA tours with many players using pro stock versions of the racket e.g. Stefanos Tsitsipas, David Goffin, and Garbine Muguruza.
Babolat Pure Drive vs Wilson Blade 98
For this comparison, I will be using the 2021 version of the Babolat Pure Drive (or “PD”) and the V8 16×19 version of the Wilson Blade 98 (or “B98”).
There is no 18×20 version of the PD so I will only be using the 16×19 version of the B98 in my comparisons below.
Racket Specs Comparison
|Specs||Pure Drive||Blade 98|
|Strung Weight:||318g (11.2oz)||320g (11.3oz)|
|Balance:||4 pts HL||5 pts HL|
|TW Stiffness Rating:||71||61|
|Beam Width:||23mm / 26mm / 23mm||21mm|
|Colors:||Blue and Black||Green and Black|
|String Pattern:||16 Mains * 19 Crosses||16 Mains * 19 Crosses|
|Grip:||Babolat Syntec Pro||Wilson Pro Performance|
One of the main differences between the two rackets is their head size with the head size of the B98 (98in) being two inches smaller than the PD (100in).
The bigger head size on the PD will mean it has a bigger sweet spot and more power potential but this will come at the cost of control and maneuverability.
Like the majority of tennis rackets on the market today, the PD and B98 have a standard 27in length.
Strung Weight, Swing Weight, and Balance
The B98 has a slightly heavier strung weight (320g) when compared with the PD (318g) but the difference is too small to tell the difference when holding these tennis rackets in your hand.
Despite having a lower strung weight, the PD has a heavier swing weight (320g) when compared with the B98 (317g).
This is mainly due to the PD (4pts HL) having a less head light balance than the B98 (5pts HL).
Tennis Frame Stiffness
The B98 has a lower stiffness rating (61) when compared with the stiffness rating of the PD (71) so over the long term, the B98 is likely to be the more arm friendly frame.
Having played with both of these rackets, I didn’t have any elbow or arm issues but if you have had tennis elbow issues in the past, then your best bet is the B98.
As the more powerful of the two tennis rackets, the PD has a thicker beam width when compared with the B98.
Are these tennis rackets good for beginners?
They aren’t the worst options for beginners but I definitely think there are better options out there e.g. Wilson Clash UL.
Which is better for One Handed Backhand Players?
You can make both of these rackets work with a one handed backhand but the B98 definitely has the edge in terms of playability for one handed backhand players.
Which is more Arm Friendly?
The B98 has a lower stiffness rating and I found it to be the more arm friendly of the two tennis rackets.
What Tennis Pros endorse these frames?
The PD is endorsed by the following tennis pros on the ATP and WTA Tours: Fabio Fognini, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova, and Sofia Kenin, while the B98 is endorsed by Jenson Brooksby, Alex de Minaur, Paula Badosa, Amanda Anisimova, Simona Halep, Emma Raducanu, and Elina Svitolina.
Are they Head Light or Head Heavy?
Both are Head Light (HL).