The Rafael Nadal Racket has been one of the top-selling rackets over the last 15 years and has made Babolat a worldwide tennis brand.
We have compiled the below guide with the goal of helping you understand what racket Rafael Nadal actually plays with on tour and whether the retail version that you can buy in your local tennis shop is anything like the racket Nadal actually plays with.
What Racket Does Rafael Nadal play with?
ATP Pro and former world number 1 Rafael Nadal endorses the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Tennis Racket (see image above) but he actually plays with a Babolat AeroPro Drive Original pro stock frame and not the latest Babolat Pure Aero Rafa.
Each time there is an update to the Pure Aero, Nadal’s AeroPro Drive Original gets a paint job to look like it.
This is common practice to boost tennis racket sales amongst racket manufacturers like Babolat, Head, Wilson and others.
What are the Specifications of the Babolat Pure Aero Tennis Racket (Retail Version) Vs Rafa’s Actual Racket?
Below are the racket specifications for the retail and pro versions of Rafael Nadal’s Racket.
As you can see from the below specs, the main differences between the retail and pro versions of Rafa’s Rackets are the extra swing weight and the balance being slightly less head light.
Unlike other pro rackets, the retail version isn’t a million miles away from the racket Rafa actually plays with.
|Rafael Nadal Racket||Retail Version||Pro Version|
|Head Size:||100 Inches||100 Inches|
|Racket Length:||27 inches||27 inches|
|Strung Weight:||318 grams||343 grams|
|String Pattern:||16 x 19||16 x 19|
|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 racket||Low powered racket|
|Recommended Level:||Intermediate-advanced player (not recommended for beginners)||Advanced player (not recommended for beginners)|
Can You Buy Rafael Nadal’s Actual Racket?
It is slightly easier to get your hands on a racket with similar specs to Nadal’s actual racket than the rackets for other top tennis players such as Novak Djokovic and you can usually find old Babolat AeroPro Drive Original rackets for sale on sites like eBay and Pro Stock Tennis.
Although it is easy enough to get a Babolat AeroPro Drive Original and customise it so it matches Nadal’s specs, I would not recommend it.
Nadal’s specs work for him as he has trained for years to master his craft but if you are a tennis weekend warrior then his specs are likely to be totally unsuitable for you.
In the vast majority of cases, you will be better off, if you opt for the specs of the retail version of his racket.
What Grip Size does Rafael Nadal use?
Rafael Nadal uses a 4 and 1/4 grip size with an overgrip on his rackets which is considered small for someone that is 6ft 1in tall.
Nadal and other top tennis pros like Federer and Djokovic favour a smaller grip size with overgrips so that they can get extra spin on their serves and groundstrokes.
As mentioned in my article on Roger Federer’s Tennis Racket, just because tennis pros like Rafa use a 4 and 1/4 grip size, that doesn’t mean it is right for you too.
Everyone’s hands are different and you need to get the grip size that is best for you. If you play tennis regularly with a grip size that is too large or too small for your hands, this can lead to wrist, elbow and arm issues.
Does Rafael Nadal play with a Vibration Dampener?
Like a lot of professional tennis players, Rafael Nadal plays with a Vibration Dampener on his tennis racket.
Nadal uses Babolat’s Custom Dampner on his tennis rackets which is available from Amazon.
How does Rafael Nadal string his Racket?
Rafael Nadal strings his racket with Babolat RPM blast in the crosses and the mains.
Unlike many top professional tennis players like Federer and Djokovic, Nadal does not tend to vary the tension on his tennis racket during the year.
Generally, the string tension on Rafa’s tennis rackets will be 55 lbs on the cross strings and 55 lbs on the main strings.
Should I buy the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Tennis Racket?
If you are looking for a racket that looks and feels similar to Rafa Nadal’s racket then I think the Pure Aero is a good option.
Although the Pure Aero is lighter than Rafa’s racket of choice, it will be better suited to the vast majority of recreational tennis players.
The racket will also be more spin friendly and is less likely to tire out your arm as quickly as playing with Nadal’s actual Racket.
Where can I buy Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Tennis Racket?
As the Babolat Pure Aero has been a top selling tennis racket for years now, you will find that most bricks and mortar tennis shops will have the racket in stock.
If you can’t source the racket locally, you also have the option of buying the Babolat Pure Aero online.
If you are considering buying the racket and you would like to support our site, then consider purchasing the Babolat Pure Aero Tennis racket by clicking on the Amazon button below.
By doing this we will receive a small commission from Amazon and it won’t cost you any more to buy the racket.