Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 Racket Review
A slight disclaimer to start with, I use the Pure Strike 18 x 20, so obviously, I love the feel of the Pure Strike frame.
The question is whether the 16 x 19 string pattern would live up to the 18 x 20 that I love so much.
Other than the string pattern and the 18 x 20 having a slightly heavier swingweight (325 vs 323), these two rackets have exactly the same specs, but the different string pattern can make a very big difference to a racket.
With some racket companies, I would worry that this change would make a massive difference to the way the racket feels, but Babolat have shown in other rackets that they can make changes whilst keeping the fundamentals of a racket.
In the Pure Drive Tour, for example, Babolat added 15g to the regular Pure Drive, but kept the same easy manoeuvrability and power that everyone loves in the Pure Drive range.
So, I was expecting that the Pure Strike 16 x 19 would keep the same kind of philosophy of the 18 x 20, with just a few changes.
Like the 18 x 20, the 16 x 19 comes with Hybrid Frame Construction, for extra strength, and FSI Power Technology, which increases the spacing between the string in the top of the racket to give it a more spin-friendly feel.
This comes together to provide what in my opinion is the perfect blend of classic feel, and modern manoeuvrability.
The Pure Strike 16 x 19 has everything, control, feel, spin, stability, and power, all in a lightweight 305g frame that’s easy to use.
As you would expect, the 16 x 19 has much better spin potential than the 18 x 20.
The more open pattern means the strings have more space to move, creating more friction with the ball and increasing the number of revolutions on your shot.
More string movement does have its disadvantages though, and the 16 x 19 doesn’t have quite the same levels of feel and control as the 18 x 20.
This is where my preference for the 18 x 20 comes in, I generate a lot of topspin naturally, so I value the control and feel over spin potential.
However, compared to a mere mortal racket, the Pure Strike 16 x 19 still has a wonderful amount of feel and control, especially for a 305g racket.
What you do get with the 16 x 19 though, is a little extra spin and power, compared to its 18 x 20 brother.
There was no danger of me disliking it, but I loved warming up with the Pure Strike 16 x 19 and it was nice to be doing a playtest with something so similar to my lovely Pure Strike 18 x 20, which I don’t get to play with enough because I’m always trying out different rackets.
9.5out of 10
There’s nothing else to say about the Pure Strike from the back other than it’s fabulous.
I’m a big fan of classic pro-style rackets that are heavy on control, but the Pure Strike takes the good aspects of the classic racket and blends it with the best aspects of a modern player’s racket.
The 16 x 19 leans slightly more towards the modern player’s racket with its easy access to spin being very noticeable.
While I wouldn’t say the Pure Strike is as manoeuvrable and fast as the Pure Drive, it’s still effortless to swing, and you get similar levels of power and spin with the 16 x 19.
The real difference between the Pure Drive and the Pure Strike is in the feel. The Pure Drive to me, is very pingy, it plays like a light racket and you don’t feel massive amounts of control.
The Pure Strike is not like that though, it has the feel of a much heavier racket, and extremely stable on contact.
The Pure Strike’s stability means that the majority of the energy you build up throughout the stroke goes through the ball, giving you a heavy shot with plenty of power and spin.
With the Pure Drive, I felt like it created a lot of energy, but some of it was lost on contact because of a lack of stability. But that is not something you have to worry about with the Pure Strike 16 x 19.
The 16 x 19 Pure Strike feels especially easy to play with; the racket swings through the air with ease, and it has a little more easy power and spin than the 18 x 20, making it ideal for aggressive baseliners and counter-attackers alike.
On the backhand side, I was able to generate great racket head speed with the easy manoeuvrability of the Pure Strike and continue driving through the ball with the solid 323 swingweight.
The easy access to spin this racket provides meant that I was hitting with a great flightpath, getting good depth and pushing my opponent back in the court.
This led to a lot of short balls coming my way, where I was able to step into the court and take charge of the point.
This is the one area where I found I missed my 18 x 20 a little bit, as I find it much easier to flatten the ball out with the denser swing pattern.
This is more of a personal downfall than a problem with the racket though, and it shouldn’t be a problem for most people.
On the forehand side, as with the backhand side, I couldn’t find any negatives with the Pure Strike 16 x 19.
The racket head speed you can get with this racket is brilliant and it translates into real power.
For my personal preference, I don’t need that much spin, particularly on the forehand side so I would probably end up stringing this racket very tightly.
Lastly, and Tom would want me to mention this, the Pure Strike 16 x 19 is an excellent frame for customization.
Tom is a big fan of adding some weight in the head of the Pure Strike to give it a little bit more swingweight and gain some more power.
I love the frame just how it is, but I can certainly see how this would also appeal to a lot of people who like a slightly heavier racket.
I haven’t tried this custom setup yet, but I look forward to giving it a go.
I gave the Pure Strike 18 x 20 a 9.5 out of 10 on groundstrokes and I’m going to give the Pure Strike 16 x 19 the same.
For my preferences, the 18 x 20 is slightly better, but I would have thought the 16 x 19 would be more popular.
It gives you everything you could want, and most importantly the whole feel of the racket is brilliant.
If you’re looking for a racket that’s between 300-310g then obviously this racket is a must try.
But if you’re looking for something in the 310-320g range, then I would also recommend giving the Pure Strike a go, perhaps the 18 x 20 over the 16 x 19.
This racket just plays like a much heavier racket, without the hassle of trying to swing a huge weight.
8.5out of 10
The 16 x 19 Pure Strike will certainly appeal to a lot more people than the 18 x 20 Pure Strike on the serve.
The open string pattern gives it just a little bit more power and spin.
If you don’t have the biggest serve in the world, this is a very welcome benefit.
The manoeuvrability of the racket helps you with racket head speed, and once you get to the point of contact, it gives you everything you could want: spin, power, and control.
If you naturally hit a big serve, then you might prefer the 18 x 20 because it just gives you an incredible amount of control and precision.
But, for most people, I think the 16 x 19 has more than enough control, with great power and spin thrown in for good measure.
I loved serving with the Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19 and was rewarded with some powerful serves.
On the second serve I was able to generate good spin and direct the ball to my targets, giving me a good starting point for the rally.
I have given the Pure Strike 16 x 19 an 8.5 out of 10, slightly better than the 18 x 20.
I just think it’s got a little bit extra to offer on this shot.
7.5out of 10
At the net, I love a tight, closed string pattern, which is where I really enjoy my 18 x 20 Pure Strike. The 16 x 19 Pure Strike is a little springier at the net, and I do think that detracts a little bit from the volleying experience.
Nevertheless, the 16 x 19 still has the kind of stability that makes it a good all-round racket.
I don’t think it would suit someone who chip charges and serve volleys, but it is more than good enough to work for someone who likes to attack the net.
The Pure Strike is very comfortable at the net and absorbs power very well for a racket of its weight.
Of course, a heavier racket is going to absorb the power and cushion the ball a little better, and this is the area for which I would certainly consider some extra weight in the head.
The 16 x 19 is good for an all-round player who likes to finish points off at the net and will do an excellent job on the simple volleys.
It could use a little bit more weight to make it a true volleying great, so I have given it a 7.5 out of 10 at the net.
9out of 10
You don’t find many people that have bad things to say about the Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19, and I’m not about to start that club.
In my opinion, this is an exceptional racket that will appeal to a massive range of players.
There are so many aspects to this racket that are good.
It has brilliant control, great feel, and gives you easy access to power and spin.
For its weight it is very stable, and you get the manoeuvrability that is associated with a lightweight racket, yet the stability of a much heavier racket.
There are arguments either way if you are choosing between the 18 x 20 and 16 x 19 string pattern; the 16 x 19 being slightly easier to serve with, but the 18 x 20 being slightly better at the net.
Other than that, it is just a matter of personal preference as they do suit slightly different styles of players.
Whether you prefer the 16 x 19 or 18 x 20, the Pure Strike is a must buy racket.
It appeals to all kinds of players, and for me is one of the very best rackets out there.
I have given the Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19 a 9 out of 10 – a deservedly high score for a truly remarkable racket.
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