Rafa "un unico" Nadal takes on Jo "hitman" Tsonga in this latest Babolat AeroPro Drive promo vid that takes the 2013 stick out of the shadows and into battle.
Tennis in the dark. Would be cool to set up somehow. Love those spin trails.
Rafa "un unico" Nadal takes on Jo "hitman" Tsonga in this latest Babolat AeroPro Drive promo vid that takes the 2013 stick out of the shadows and into battle.
Tennis in the dark. Would be cool to set up somehow. Love those spin trails.
Above is one of three 2013 Babolat Aeropro Drive range tennis racquets coming out December 12. It is a cosmetic update of the 2012 version with the addition of new Cortex Active Technology which gives players extra help with feel that can, in turn, maximize your topspin potential (you do have to stroke the ball correctly of course). The new range includes:
AEROPRO DRIVE/AEROPRO DRIVE +
For baseline players looking for power and spin
$199 USD unstrung
Head size: 645 cm2 /100 sq. in.
Weight (unstrung): 300 g / 10.6 oz
For baseline players who appreciate power, while looking for more maneuverability.
Head size: 645 cm2 / 100 sq. in.
Weight (unstrung): 280 g / 9.9 oz
For women and high-level juniors looking for a lightweight racquet with spin.
Head size: 645 cm2 / 100 sq. in.
Weight (unstrung): 260 g / 9.2 oz
The tennis techie's dream Play and Connect racquet is still on hold for retail release.
Joining the new Aeropro racquet are updates for the Babolat Propulse tennis shoe, one of my favorites. The Propulse 4 All Court is available in black/yellow (as here, left) and white with blue for men, $120.
The Propulse keeps you low to the ground and stable during rapid side to side movement. The footbelt locks your foot in giving a custom fit. The Kompressor system offers good cushioning and Michelin outsole, durability.
The shoes will be in stores in February 2013.
Learn more at Babolat.com or test drive/buy at Tennis-Warehouse and Babolat retailers worldwide.
Heads-up on the new Babolat racquet line coming out 12.12.12. I wrote about the new "intelligent" sensor loaded racquet back in June. Psyched to try it myself. Not sure if that's what's coming out yet though. I'll keep you posted.
Quick teaser here featuring Rafa (miss him!) and Jo-Wilfried from Babolat:
"...Seeing [Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters] both retire at the US Open [was] very moving. These two talented players have had some incredible moments on the court, as well as off the court thanks to their likeability and generosity.
The Babolat team wishes them the best in their future endeavors. We imagine that our history together will continue, and that we will meet again to collaborate on projects that will further advance this magnificent sport of tennis.”
-- Eric Babolat, CEO of Babolat.
Clisters and Roddick joined Team Babolat in 1999 and 2000 respectively.
I cried, through the entire last two games of the delPo match. Pretty common reaction looking around the stands. He had most of us at trophy hug back in 2003.
A last look here at Roddick's on court apparel as tour player. Yup classic polo and shorts, that's Andy, he doesn't push the envelope in the fashion dept., but this time he's got dancin' feet:
Appropriately red, white and blue, Andy hit the Open wearing the Lacoste Fall Stripe Polo, $95 (I really like this one), Lacoste Stretch fly shorts, $85, and Babolat Propulse Stars & Stripes shoes.
BTW, I just spotted this gem, the Lacoste Men's Fall Roddick Jacket, $165. Pictured is the back of the zip up. How much do YOU love A.R.?
Next stop? He's headed to the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for a charity event.
My guess is that his calendar will fill quickly and that he, like John McEnroe, Brad Gilbert and Martina Navaratilova, will become an A+ commentator sitting courtside at the Open, giving his opinion in no uncertain terms. I look forward.
Thanks for the tennis Andy. You will be missed.
Find the gear at Lacoste, Tennis-Warehouse and Lacoste tennis retailers.
Hit the courts with pride for Old Glory. The Babolat Propulse 3 has been cosmetically updated as the limited edition red, white and blue Stars & Stripes to celebrate the 2012 Olympics and certainly the upcoming US Open.
Will Andy Roddick rock them? Yes, no question. Women, order two sizes down. This shoe is made in mens sizes only. Wear these with all white. Fresh.
Pre-sale starts this week.
More info at Babolat. Available at Tennis-Warehouse and select Babolat retailers.
Babolat has introduced a sensor loaded tennis racquet, the "Play and Connect," designed to monitor and evaluate tennis performance outside of your match results. The prototype was debuted at Roland Garros.
Both Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga participated in demos at the tournament. The official racquet launch will be 2013. Until then only 100 Play and Connect racquets will be distributed and beta tested worldwide.
"This is a connected and communicating racquet that will give players information they can use to improve performance or just have fun sharing with other passionate tennis players,” explains Eric Babolat, Chairman and CEO.
The new racquet will be able to gather information on strokes, ball spin, position of ball on string bed, service speed, duration of play, intensity of play and more, AND then transmit it to your computer or smart phone via a USB port.
“In 2004, Babolat developed the Aeropro Drive racquet specifically for the type of game I play," said Nadal. "... Having this new technology to capture information from my matches will mean a new way of analyzing my game”
More info to come as the racquet rolls out.
Congrats to Agnieszka (Aga) Radwanska of Poland on her singles win at the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad CA. This is Radwanska's 5th career title, won with impressive, crafty shot-making. Aga's is not a power game but one of calm variety, placement and intellect.
Radwanska plays with a Babolat Pure Drive lite GT and is currently wearing Babolat tennis shoes as well.
Her look: Radwanska appears to like close-fitting unfussy, athletic separates to match her all-business on-court personality. Her tennis apparel is unmarked/branded barring the labels of the many businesses that have sponsored her game so far (see two on her top in pic above). Unless these contracts are paying mega bucks and Aga's got something great going on, this woman needs an apparel contract; she's ranked #12 in the world! Here's hoping Sunday's win will push a change.
Off-court: Aga's off-court personality is quite different from on. Here's a fun pic of her shopping. Get to know her on Twitter @ARadwanska or on her and her sister Ursula's (Ula) website, Radwanska Sisters.com. That on-court serious is a tactic and it's working.
Image from Indian Wells by Getty Images.
Chris Gaudreau* (front row, third from left) was an integral part of team Babolat charged with stringing tennis racquets at the 2011 Paris Open at Roland Garros. Over the course of 14 days and 3,000+ racquets, Gaudreau kept a running diary. Here's a sneak peek at just a very few of Gaudreau's many behind-the-stringing-scenes reveals:
"Nadal had a 5 setter today. Babolat and the Spanish stringers were freaking out...I was the only American so I kept my mouth shut. Nadal had 3 rackets run in and the press followed. Xavie strung 2 rackets in 15 minutes...the fastest I have ever seen..."
"3 rackets were given to me for Kirilenko. It was 11:25 and they were due by 12..."
"When a player is on court and needs a racket strung a special phone rings and giant light goes off...kind of like the "bat phone" but brighter. Gasquet ran a racket in during the match but it didn't help..."
Fun, eye-opening reading. HERE"S THE FULL TRANSCRIPT. A slice of tennis life I knew very little about.
*Chris Gaudreau is a Master Racquet Technician (MRT), USRSA certified racquet stringer and USPTA certified teaching pro. He owns and operates Racket Koop in New Haven, CT (close to the Yale Bowl). He has worked with and strung for some of the the world's top-level tennis players at many world class tennis events. Roland Garros was his first Grand Slam event.
Two historic French brands have teamed up to offer a new Roland Garros range created by Babolat. The line-up includes tennis racquets, tennis bags, balls, over grips and more all themed with the color of the French Open's clay courts. Mais oui, yes they are sharp looking.
The Aeropro Drive French Open is the showpiece and comes in three Roland Garros versions to suit your ability: Aeropro Drive French Open, $199 unstrung (Nadal and Tsonga use this stick), E Sense Comp French Open, $99 strung (lighter of the two adult racquets), Aeropro Drive Junior French Open $140 strung. Head sizes are the same on all three. Differences are in weight and construction. All are cosmetic updates to existing Babolat frames.
The Roland-Garros tennis bag comes as a six $60 or twelve pack $80, both have the isotherm racquet compartment which protects your string job from big temperature changes. There is also a back pack for $40 and club bag. New themed tennis balls, over grips and dampeners are also part of the collection.
Babolat has announced the launch of a new collaboration between Babolat and Roland Garros beginning this year and running through 2015. Babolat will supply the official tournament ball at the French Open and will provide stringing services for all tournament players.
Sure we'll see the ads but the alliance is being billed as the Ultimate Tennis Experience and true to Babolat's mission to reach "all tennis aficionados" -- see the artwork above -- we tennis mortals will have access to a brand new line of Babolat-Roland Garros products, both adult and junior racquets, balls, racquet bags, strings, grips and dampeners. A little love from France for our game too.
I'm looking forward to checking it out. The new gear will be available in May 2011. Roland Garros begins May 17.
You can't help but notice Andy Roddick's seriously red tennis shoes. Flash-ehh? There's a women's version as well, though a tad more subdued. If you want the full blast ladies, go with a men's size like many women already do.
Andy Roddick's shoes are the new Babolat Propulse 3, the third reincarnation of the Propulse, $109. The women's version is the the Lady 3, $104 (USD). This is a solid but lightweight and breathable performance shoe. The velcro belts, as I call them, are great for securing the shoe for a snug feeling, very custom fit. Michelin man soles offer durability and traction.
Find them at Tennis-Warehouse and Babolat dealers worldwide.
No this is not a new product but it's first in a new series looking at cheap tennis fixes (under $20). Babolat's ElastoCross is a great fix for anyone who breaks strings a lot. Online a dispenser runs $5.99 and I know pros who say this stuff lives up to its advertised "50% more string durability" billing. That's good savings.
String protectors are an easy way to extend the life of your tennis strings. They reduce the friction that the rubbing of crosses and mains causes. Most people who use them swear by this particular brand because it's easy to use and works well.
According to Roman Prokes at RPNY in New York, the use of polyester strings has reduced the number of people using string protectors (Pete Sampras was a regular user) but, if you are a string breaker putting these on when your strings look a little worn can earn you extra games on a string job.
According to Prokes, ElastoCross will make a newly strung racquet feel tight. He suggests putting them on your racquet's sweetspot once your racquet has been used a while. If you play with natural gut you can preload with these for longevity.
$5.99 at Tennis Warehouse.
The contest invites readers of SI Kids to draw their favorite tennis player— Babolat's hoping its Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Gonzalez, Caroline Wozniacki or Kim Clijsters—or any tennis inspired art for a chance to win weekly prizes including autographed Babolat tennis racquets and gear.
“Our Team Babolat professional players are often role models for young tennis players, so with the French Open right around corner, we thought this would be a fun way to engage kids in the game of tennis,” says Susan DiBiase, marketing director of Babolat USA.Submit art through a template on SIKids.com. Winners will be announced every week through the French Open, concluding June 6, 2010.
With a nod to Babolat's 135th anniversary and the upcoming French Open, French brand Babolat has dressed up the Pure Drive GT in red, red clay to be exact. It is called the Pure Drive 135 in its reincarnation. This is a special commemorative edition racquet for collectors and Pure Drive enthusiasts. There are no changes other than design, $189.00 USD.
A little history: The Pure Drive made the limelight in 1998 when Carlos Moya won the French Open with his "blue" weapon. The new special edition version is said to pay homage to the Spanish champion's victory with that very first Babolat racquet.
Look for the 135th anniversary bag on court this month as each member of team Babolat (Nadal, Roddick, Wozniacki and more) will carry it at Roland Garros from May 18 - June 6.
No word on whether or not someone will play with the birthday racquet.
The Propulse Range is Babolat's highest performing line of shoes. New to the group is the Propulse 2 Titanium (pictured left, $109 USD). Andy Roddick debuted the Propulse 2 Titanium in January at the Australian Open.
“Footwork is essential for winning,” Roddick commented. “In tennis, there are a lot of lateral moves, it’s very important in the game…and the Propulse is made for that. I have been particularly impressed with the traction and quick acceleration I get with the shoe.” The shoe also comes in white for the traditionalist. Jr. sizes are available, $59.95.For women Babolat has also released the Propulse Lady 2 Parma, $109 USD, an all-surface competitive women’s shoe with touches of purple for 2010. This shoe, worn by Nadia Petrova, has all the Propulse 2 technologies with materials and fit that are specifically designed for the female foot. The Lady Parma offers a real sensation of forefoot recovery in play and superior comfort on the court for everyday use. I loved and still use last year's version.
New for Babolat's Team range is the very cool looking Team All Court Style Reverse (left, $89 - Jrs. $49.95). The Reverse is an offbeat look for the Team All Court 4 with asymmetrical left and right shoes.
I have to say that I am impressed with the durability of the Michelin outsole on Babolat shoes.
Put yourself in (buy) a pair of new Babolat shoes and racquet (at participating retailers). Your name will go into the drawing and a portion of the money you spend on the gear will go to the Foundation PLUS you will get a free Babolat club backpack.
If you just want to enter (no charitable component here) go to babolat.com/advantagebabolat. You will also be eligible for weekly prizes. Brush up on some Roddick trivia before you visit as you will have to answer a few questions about the Texan in order to enter.
Hey your chance of that hit were nil before so its worth a shot ehh? This offer is valid now through May 18, 2010. All adult racquets, Pure Drive junior, Aeropro Drive Junior and adult and junior shoes are eligible for the promotion.
*According to Roddick's website. "[T]he goal of the Andy Roddick Foundation is to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all children based on the principles of respect for family, education and morality." Learn more here.
RPM Blast (Revolutions Per Minute) is a monofilament string that gives players more spin, more power and a unique feel at ball impact. “With this new string, I have more spin, and it helps me hit deeper..." explains Rafael Nadal.
As for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who joined the Babolat team on January 1, he won his first competition in Kooyong before reaching the semi-finals at Melbourne with the RPM Blast string. “...I’ve never played with a string like this before,” said the #1 French player.
“The advice and recommendations of Tour players have been decisive in the development of the string,” adds Cécile Gindre, String Products Manager at Babolat. “The combination of the high-density material and a specific coating gives it both power and spin.”
RPM Blast will be available starting April 2010 in 17 and 16 gauge. MSRP $16.95.
Learn more at Babolat or find it soon at Tennis-Warehouse.
Nadal's style? Click HERE.
Did you notice the change? Maybe you noticed Tsonga with a brand spanking new racquet at least. The Aeropro Drive, one of Babolat's hottest selling racquets, is the racquet of choice for Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki and now Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. All three are carrying the GT (Graphite Tungsten) enhanced version of the Aeropro Drive in Australia.
GT technology combines braided carbon fibers and tungsten filaments which are integrated throughout the entire racquet. This improves the racquet’s overall construction and strengthens the frame to reduce torque for more precision and stability during ball impact. Key performance boosting benefits are said to be: spin, power and speed. This technology was added to the Pure Drive (Roddick, Clijsters) and Pure Storm (Gonzalez) last year. Look for the GT on the racquet handle just above the grip to be sure you've got the new tech.
GT technology can now be found in all new to market Aero models. Cortex System technology, situated between the handle and the string bed, also filters vibrations that interfere with ball feel. The unique Aero frame is said to simulate the aerodynamics of an airplane wing to minimize drag through the air for a faster swing and increased hitting power.
The Aero Storm ($185) is Dinara Safina’s choice from the GT infused line-up. The group includes the Aeropro Drive, Aeropro Drive Plus ($189), Aeropro Team ($185), Aeropro Lite ($179), Aero Storm ($185) and Aero Storm Tour ($185). The Aeropro Drive Junior ($104) and Nadal Junior ($24.95) do not offer GT.
"...To say that I'm happy with the new line would be an understatement. I really do feel that looking your best on court and feeling good about yourself is an important factor in how you play..." said Wozniacki, currently number 4 in the Sony Ericsson WTA ranking.
At the Aussie she will wear the Tennis Performance Dress (above) in alloy, a fresh, very light grey-blue color (really faint on the blue). Climalite technology and mesh panels on the sides insure optimum ventilation and comfort. The fitted scoop necked design features a printed and embroidered floral motif on the front, $150 USD.
Also in the group is a cute tiered pleated skirt, $90. The coordinating polo is $85. Both pieces are pictured left. Wozniacki may play dubs in this.
Underneath everything she will wear the Performance Hot Pant and Bra in seed pearl. The warm up jacket is a biker influenced Tennis Performance Jacket (above) in slate green with diagonal zippers, chunky pockets, shoulder flaps and a belt to contrast the ultra feminine floral motif on the dress, $175.
Her tennis shoes will be the Lucrari Tennis Performance Shoe in running white, aluminium and apollo. The shoe is based on the adidas Barricade V. Love them but ouch, $185. Her bag is the Delibuta Tennis Bag.
Racquet info: Wozniacki currently plays with the Babolat AeroPro Drive.
It's a nice one. Andy Roddick's newest look combines the Lacoste Short Sleeve Printed Check Super Dry Polo, $95 in eclipse blue and the like-color Diamante Drawstring Short, $85 ($49.99 online sale). The shirt is all lightweight, all performance fabric, a totally different feel than traditional Lacoste shirts -- touches of kelly green and white add pop. Wonder if Roddick went a size smaller he'd stop tugging at his shoulders but at this point it's probably ritual along with the quick cap adjust.
The Men's Trucker Cap retails for $55 (now $32.99 online). The mesh top is great for keeping the head ventilated -- a much cooler option than a closed weave fabric.
Andy's racquet? The Babolat Pure Drive Roddick, ($189 USD unstrung) and his shoes? The Babolat Propulse 2, $109. ASO ankle braces, ($34.99 each) on both feet. This editor swears by them too.
Image: Ron Angle
Welcome back Kim! The Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open kicked off this past weekend with the return of Kim Clijsters who played mini tennis with Elena Dementieva amidst the cooling spray of the fountains of King's Island. Clijsters first faces Marion Bartoli, world number 12.
Clijsters returns to the tour wearing Fila and carrying her trusty Babolat, the Babolat Pure Drive, $185. For string she uses Babolat VS Natural Gut.
For more on her return, check out this link on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour site.
Image: Getty Images
adidas announced today that Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark will wear fall/winter collection adidas by Stella McCartney beginning at the U.S. Open. Until today Maria Kirilenko was the only WTA tennis athlete allowed to wear the line as a sponsored player. Kirilenko will no longer wear the line.
Wozniacki, currently ranked No. 9 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, has been selected to become the exclusive new face of the tennis line and will be playing in apparel and footwear from the distinctive sport performance collection.
“For me it is essential to wear products that combine performance and style," said Wozniacki. "I need to have breathable apparel and footwear that is lightweight, stable and well cushioned. With the adidas by Stella McCartney tennis line I feel like I have everything any fashionable female tennis player always dreams about: cutting-edge adidas technologies combined with Stella’s unique designs that actually perform. I always play better when I feel good, that is very important to me so I’m really excited about getting out on court in it!”
Stella McCartney comments “It’s very rare for a fashion designer to dress one of the top 10 players in the world. I couldn't be more thrilled and happy to be given that opportunity. Let’s hope this will enhance her performance!!”
Caroline will be wearing key styles from the new fall/winter 2009 tennis collection including the Performance Dress, the Performance Hot Pant and Bra in smoked pink and the Tennis Image Jacket in dark grape (pictured above). She will also wear the Skynde tennis shoe, in seed pearl, dark grape and white, which is built on the renowned adidas Barricade V tooling.
The fall/winter 09 adidas by Stella McCartney tennis collection hits retail in August. Prices range from $175 for the Skynde shoe, $130.00 for the Performance Dress and $175.00 for the Tennis Image Jacket.
Stay tuned for an overview of my favs including a run down of the details on what Wozniacki will be wearing. Love it all -- but that's not unusual.
Note: new post now up: For more details on the line, click HERE.
I'm seeing a whole lot of Under Armour on the rec tennis courts, especially on guys. There is just something all-athletic about the line -- for the no fluff, no show, just want to get the job done kind of guy.
Pictured here at Wimbledon Igor Andreev wore a white version of the Under Armour Men's Classic II Crew, $39.99 (similar to the Team Zone Crew) and Men's Woven Short, $39.99; great tennis staples with an edge that includes Heat Gear tech, 30+ sun protection and anti-odor technology.
If you've worn UA you know that this stuff is lightweight and all performance. This particular shirt is not a compression top so much looser fitting than some UA tops. I personally like the look of loose much better than tight (on a guy that is - Rafa excepted).
This one was his choice at Roland Garros. The shirt comes in white with eclipse blue (shown here) and in the reverse, eclipse blue with white. The collar is ribbed, lightweight, 100% polyester, $95 USD.
Roddick's hat is the Men's Trucker Cap -- full mesh back for ventilation. It actually has less of a trucker look these days (a good thing) and it's on sale at the moment, $37.99. (regularly $55)
Available now at Lacoste under Men's tennis.
Andy plays with the new Babolat Pure Drive Roddick that we looked at May 13.
Image: Ron Angle
Yes, real men wear pink. Case closed. Howard Fendrich, AP Tennis Writer quoted Raphael Nadal as saying, " It's better than dress the same color every week, no?" Absolutely, we all nod in awe. Rock on. You are the man.
Pictured here in first round Roland Garros action Nadal switched things up again with more than a little dash of the vibrant pink being used fashion industry wide for pop. The top is Nike's Summer Bold Open Polo, light rose with electrolime stripe $60; the shorts, Bold Open Men's Tennis Shorts in charcoal $55; signature bandana $15 and wrist bands $10 in electrolime. His shoes, the Nike Air Max Courtballistec 1.3 classic charcoal vivid pink and white $120 which he appears to own in all color combinations.
I'm not sure many tennis mortals can pull off this look in its entirety without appearing a little presumptuous but grab what you can and what works for your game.
Rafa plays with the Babolat AeroProDrive Cortex.
Image: Getty Images/Matthew Stockman.
If you travel to the courts via foot, subway or bike, less is definitely more. Even though most racquet bags come with backpack straps, these smaller back packs fit the bill during those times when you just don't want any extra bulk.
Top left the Wilson KTour back pack, holds two racquets with padding around them, has a separate compartent for shoes and is made without PVC (an environmentally friendly effort), $39.95; top right, the KSwiss Ibiza Tennis Backpack in Navy -- retro-ish and fitting in an all tennis-whites setting, for one-racquet, $39.99. Bottom left the groovy "Tell it to my Heart" Whak Sak, black with rhinestones, holds a tennista's two racquets and essentials. The insulated drink holder keeps a beverage cold and handy, $79.99; Bottom right: the Babolat Classic Club Line Back Pack, $24.95 (has a racquet handle cover -- added value for transit in the rain). Some of Rafa's entourage have been spotted wearing this bag.
Looking for an instant court style update? Bring on the blue. Na Li of China, pictured above in Madrid, wears the color of the moment in an athletic yet elegant combination from Nike. Li's top is the Women's Slam Athlete Tank, $55 USD in white with medium blue and purple chalk. The skort is the Women's Slam Athlete in the same colors, $55. This outfit is available in three other color combinations as well. All Dri-FIT poly spandex. Super comfy.
The skort's tamed pleats are what really caught my eye. I love the smooth top over the textured bottom -- a softly modernized version of a tennis classic. The ensemble is absolutely head turning, and that blue? Who does not look good in blue?
Image: Getty Images/Clive Brunskill -- Sony Ericsson WTA
You may have noticed, Andy Roddick has a new racquet. It's the new Babolat Pure Drive Roddick ($189 USD, unstrung), ideal for expert players with full and fast swings looking for solid feel with spin and a balance of power and control. Head size: 100 sq.in.; weight:11.1 oz; flair: Roddick's sig.
The alternate version, currently used by Sybille Bammer, is the Babolat Pure Drive ($185) again for advanced players, same head size but a tad lighter at 10.6 oz. Both 2009 Pure Drive sticks are enhanced with what the company calls GT technology. It's a hybrid material that combines braided carbon fibers and tungsten filaments in the racquet head. This combo reduces torque at ball impact and creates power with precision. The blue color remains. Looking forward to a test drive!
Complete your ensemble with the matching blue and black Team bag. They've got them for 3, 6, 9 or 12 racquets. The 3 pack is big enough for your average rec player who wants enough room to store a spare stick, balls and whatever other court essentials without carrying another bag.
For the scoop on Roddick's apparel from Lacoste, click here.
Auto racing technology in a tennis shoe? Tis true. Babolat has partnered with Michelin to bring exceptional traction and durability to our on-court soles. The shoes are lower to the ground, better ventilated and lighter than previous styles; the Michelin man is unobtrusively printed on the back heels.
Pictured above is the Propulse Lady 2, worn by Nadia Petrova and this editor (absolutely no game comparison intended). These were out-of-the-box comfortable, no break in required, snug and light, a true-to-size fit for my narrow foot. The adjustable new footbelt technology gives the Propulse a 4-point super secure fit -- another racing analogy. On-court, lateral and diagonal movement felt great.
Babolat reports that the Michelin Optimized Cell System technology (OCS) in the new range makes these 40% more resistant to abrasion. This is GREAT news for hard court players who can go through up to 8 pairs of tennis shoes a year. Platform tennis players who go through even more, should rejoice at the possible savings these soles will generate.
The Propulse 2, left, worn and signed by Andy Roddick, is the men's option within the Propulse range.
Propulse Lady 2 MSRP $104 USD, Propulse 2 $109. The junior version, the Propulse Junior 2, is $59.90.
Michelin technology is also being offered in the new Babolat Team and Drive lower priced shoe ranges.
Babolat has just unveiled its newest racquet line, the Babolat Y, an oversized series offering players both power and precision, something many oversize racquets do not. These racquets were designed specifically for the club player, men and women, age 40+ who play recreationally and/or competitively several times a week. Many of these players already use an oversized head. The four key technologies in the Y's construction: side drivers, dual-graphite construction cellular grommet system and smart grip, combine to deliver optimal power in every swing and absolute precision in every shot.
The Y line includes the: Babolat Y112 Limited, $249 USD; Y112 (on left), $229.00; Y112 with smart grip, $229; and Y118 (on right) with or without smart grip, $239. Babolat VS Natural Gut String is recommended for all of the racquets for added comfort and forgiveness. The optional ergonomic smart grip, makes holding the racquet less of an effort for older hands.
The Y112 Limited is for a higher level player with a fuller swing than the other versions of the Y which will benefit a player with a shorter swing, i.e., slice and place players.
Andy Roddick hit the Australian Open, down fifteen pounds and wearing LACOSTE's new spring 09 line. Lookin' good. Pictured here is the superdry johnny collar color-blocked polo in eclipse blue and white, $95 USD. The shorts are the diamante drawstring short, $85, and the signature trucker cap, $55.00. The shirt and shorts are 100% Superdry polyester. The cap is 60/40 cotton/poly.
The shirt comes in a reversed white on black version as well (see below).
Learn more or buy at LACOSTE. The shirts will be up on the site February 1.
Images: Ron Angle
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki is one to watch in 2009. Last summer the 18 year old grabbed her first WTA title at Stockholm's Nordic Light Open. Pictured here, Wozniacki wears her kit for the 2009 Australian Open. I got to try on both pieces and fell in love. The top is the adidas adlibria tank in neon yellow (MSRP $45 USD). Lightweight and luxurious feeling, the racerback top is cut to feature female specific ventilation -- mesh inserts and ClimaCool fabric offer plenty of breathability. I liked the close fit of this top and the fact that it sits lower than waistline height with a very pretty cut out in the lower hem. It was perfect over the low riding adilibria skort (here in cinder beach, MSRP $50) which oozes style with its voluminous pleats. I personally liked the white version as it goes with all the other tops I have.
Like Ana Ivanovic, Wozniacki will wear the Barricade V W (MSRP $120) when she steps onto the Aussie courts come January. All items will be available beginning January 2009. Learn more or shop at Tennis-Warehouse or adidas Tennis
The only way that your tennis equipment can make a difference in your clay court game is on your feet. Most players wear tennis shoes designed for all around play, meaning both hard and clay courts. Surprisingly there are very few clay court specific shoes. We spoke with Thomas Otton, Product Manager at Babolat, on the subject. "Playing on clay requires a better grip than on hard courts, due to a more slippery and movable surface," said Otton. "The specificity of clay court shoes is that they have deeper herringbones in order to increase grip. Hard courts require less grip but more durability, which explains why hard court shoes have thinner herringbones so they wear out more slowly."
Otton explained that the new Babolat Team Clay III shoe (pictured left, the choice of Igor Andreev) takes into account the need for grip with large and deep herringbones on the internal side of the outsole and features thinner herringbones on the medial side of the outsole which is used for sliding. Another nice feature is the clay stopping tongue that prevents little bits of the surface from entering the shoe.The Team Clay III is available in men's sizes only (sorry ladies) and has a $89.00 USD price.
Other clay court specific shoes include the adidas Clima Cool IVY III $75 (pictured right -- to be released in January 09) for women, the adidas Clima Cool Feather IV, $100 for men (also Jan 09, but the CC Feather III is available now) and the Wilson Trance II, $79.00, available now for both men and women.
Hey you've got more than one pair of day shoes in your closet, why settle for just one pair for tennis, especially if one of these specialists could make a difference in your game?
If you are an intermediate level player looking to change racquets, check these out. Babolat has just introduced its new XS line featuring the company's new Xtra Sweetspot technology. These are lightweight, maneuverable racquets with a grommet design that significantly increases the sweet spot, which is helpful to those among us who don't hit dead center on every single ball. You can see the new Pebax grommets on each side of the racquet face above. The new technology means that you really don't have to go to an oversized head if off-center hits are a problem. Both the Babolat XS 102 and 105 are MSRP $119 USD unstrung. String recommendation: Babolat Addiction (comfort). There appears to be very little difference between the two models; color is one and the 105 has a slightly larger head size. Learn more at Babolat or go to Tennis-Warehouse to buy or demo.
Babolat just unveiled a new line of Nadal inspired junior racquets. Most kids want to play with what their favorite pro uses but it really isn't a good idea unless they are ready level-wise. This new line solves the problem by offering the adult Aeropro Drive cosmetic, looking just like Nadal's, but in a version suited to a beginner's game, ages 4-9.
The new line, out this month, offers five versions, the Nadal 100,110, 125, 140 and 145. Head size, weight and length increase with each model number. All are made of a lightweight aluminum construction and are great for learning top-spin, one of Raphael's biggest weapons. MSR prices start at $24.95 USD. Get your kid one of these and grow some champion game.
Pictured top left is the newly released Aero Strike from Babolat. This is an extra-light version of Rafael Nadal's Aero Pro Drive. The Aero strike has been a big seller in Europe and is considered more forgiving and manuverable than the Aero Pro Drive. Up and coming juniors and intermediate players should consider this model. Suggested retail: $ 185.00 USD unstrung
On the right is the new Babolat Pure Storm Limited, a mid-sized racquet designed to meet the needs of experienced players with a wide, fast swing. Expert players will appreciate the accuracy, enhanced feel and stability of this stick. Suggested retail: $ 179.00 unstrung. Top ranked junior players, Ryan and Christian Harrison are currently playing with this model.
Below left, another new expert racquet, the Babolat Aero Storm 2008. Suggested retail: 185.00 unstrung. This is a new, lighter version of the Aero Storm 2007 model (which has now been renamed the Aero Storm Tour). The Aero Storm 2008 is Dinara Safina and Nadia Petrova's racquet.
Visit Babolat for more detailed information and a retailer listing. Tennis-Warehouse sells and offers demos of these and other Babolat racquets. All new models may not yet be in stock; keep checking. They are on their way!