Rafael Nadal Racket

The Rafael Nadal Racket has been one of the top-selling frames over the last 15 years and has helped Babolat to become a worldwide tennis brand.

I have compiled the below guide to help tennis fans understand what racket Rafael Nadal is playing with on tour in 2023 and whether the retail version is anything like Rafa’s actual racket.

Rafael Nadal Racket

What Racket Does Rafael Nadal play with?

Rafael Nadal currently endorses the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa but he actually plays with the Babolat Aero Pro Drive Original, which is an older model of the Pure Aero.

Each time there is an update to the Pure Aero, Nadal’s AeroPro Drive Original gets a new paint job to look like the latest retail version.

This is a common tactic used by manufacturers like Babolat, Head, and Wilson to boost sales.

Babolat Pure Aero vs Nadal’s Racket

Below are the specifications for the retail and pro versions of Nadal’s Racket.

As you can see from the below specs, the main difference between the retail and pro versions is the swing weight (343g vs 318g) and the balance being slightly less head light (3pts HL vs 4pts HL) on the pro version.

However, unlike many other pro rackets, the retail version isn’t a million miles away from the racket Rafa actually plays with on tour.

Specs Comparison

Specs:Retail VersionPro Version
Head Size:100 Inches100 Inches
Length:27 inches27 inches
Strung Weight:318 grams343 grams
String Pattern:16 x 1916 x 19
Swing Weight:324360
Balance:4 pts HL 3 pts HL
Swing Style Required:You need a long and fast swing You need a long and fast swing
Power Level:Low-medium powered Low powered
Recommended Level:Intermediate-advanced player (not recommended for beginners) Advanced player (not recommended for beginners)

What Grip Size does Nadal use?

Nadal uses a 4 and 1/4 grip size with an overgrip, which is considered a small grip size for someone that is 6ft 1in tall.

Nadal and other top pros like Federer and Djokovic favor a smaller grip size with overgrips so that they can get more spin on their serves and groundstrokes.

As mentioned in my article on Roger Federer’s Wilson Pro Staff RF97, just because pros like Rafa and Roger use a 4 and 1/4 grip size, that doesn’t mean it is right for you, as everyone’s hands are different so it is better to find a grip size that suits you, as if you play tennis regularly with a grip size that is too large or too small for your hands, then this can lead to wrist, elbow, and arm issues.

Does Rafa play with a Vibration Dampener?

Like many professional players, Nadal plays with a Vibration Dampener and uses Babolat’s Custom Dampeners in his strings.

How does Rafael Nadal string his racket?

As confirmed by Uncle Toni in the video below, Rafa strings his racket with Babolat RPM blast in the crosses and the mains.

Generally, the string tension on his rackets will be 55 lbs on the cross and main strings.

Unlike many top players like Federer and Djokovic, Nadal does not tend to vary the tension on his racket during the year.

Can You Buy Rafael Nadal’s Racket?

It is slightly easier to get your hands on a racket with similar specs to Rafa’s actual racket than it is for other top players such as Novak Djokovic, as you can usually find old Babolat AeroPro Drive Original for sale on websites like eBay and Pro Stock Tennis.

Although it is fairly easy to get a Babolat AeroPro Drive Original and customize it so it matches Rafa’s specs, I would not recommend it, as Rafa’s racket is far too heavy for the vast majority of club players.

Nadal’s specs work for him as he has trained for years to master his craft but if you are a weekend warrior then his specs are not going to be good for your game.

In the vast majority of cases, you will be better off, going with the retail version, as it is lighter and easier to play with.

Should I buy the retail version instead?

If you are looking for a frame that looks and feels similar to Rafa Nadal’s racket then I think the Pure Aero Rafa is a good option.

Although the retail version is lighter than Rafa’s racket, it will be a better option for the vast majority of recreational tennis players.

The retail version will also be more spin-friendly and you will be less likely to have arm or elbow issues with it.

Where can I buy Babolat Pure Aero Rafa?

As the Pure Aero Rafa has been a top-selling tennis racket for many years now, you will find that most online tennis shops will have it in stock.

If you are considering buying it and you would like to support my blog, then consider purchasing the frame by clicking on the Amazon button below.

By doing this, I will receive a small commission from Amazon and it won’t cost you any more to buy it.