Tennis players know all about the feel of hitting the sweet spot in the strings. Now they can back up that feeling with facts. The first tennis racquet with an on/off switch is also the first racquet to track stroke data, including where the ball hits the string bed.
The Babolat Play Pure Drive Set will launch on Dec. 12. Babolat, a French racquet manufacturer founded in 1875, revealed the racket to PopMech early, showing off the culmination of a 10-year project.
CEO Eric Babolat envisioned the connected racket a decade ago, but it took time for sensor technology to shrink down and lighten up enough so that he wouldn’t have to strap a backpack and wires to players. There’s no need for bulky contraptions in Babolat Play. The smart version of the Pure Drive (the sport’s top-selling racquet over the last 10 years) weighs the same 10.6 ounces as the analog version.
“There were two things in mind,” Babolat says. “One is to enrich the tennis players’ experience by having technology you don’t feel or see and don’t change your game because of [it]. And the second one is to enrich your play level. Whether Rafael Nadal or a beginner in a club, you have no info about what is happening when the ball hits the strings. We are bringing that for every tennis player.”