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Rafael Nadal Racquet – What Does He Use?
Rafael Nadal needs no introduction. He is one of the best tennis players ever and the greatest on clay courts.
He holds several unmatched records, mainly the most Grand Slam titles ever by a single player (21 and counting).
On the court, Rafa is a physical beast who can play for hours without a drop in form or concentration. He has the ability to up his level when he needs to and the mental toughness of a champion in difficult moments.
Nadal’s style is based on a baseline game using heavy topspin to keep the ball inside the court and find difficult angles. He also waits for the best opportunity to attack either by powerful swings or by going to the net, which he does more often in the last few years.
Most people already know that Rafa is loyal to Babolat racquets since his early years. But what racquet does he use in 2022? Has anything changed?
Rafa Nadal endorses the Babolat Pure Aero racquet and actually plays with the Babolat AeroPro Drive Original racquet.
Rafael Nadal’s Racquet Specs
Control, Feel and Power are the major aspects of the most notorious racquet in the last two decades.
Nadal’s racquet slightly changed throughout the years to adapt his game to the different situations in his career.
His racquet’s weight is the lowest of the Big 3 at around 343g while Federer and Djokovic are at 357g and 353g respectively.
However, Nadal compensates for the slightly lower weight with massive arm power and a big swing. He also uses much more spin than the average pro thanks to the more significant sweet spot of the Pure Aeropro Drive racquet.
The aerodynamic design and the 16×19 string pattern help for easy spin generation as well.
One main aspect that hasn’t changed over the years is the woofer grommet system, which maximizes power. In addition, GT and Aeromodular technologies increase control and easy gliding in the air without much resistance.
Here are Nadal’s current racquet specs.
|Head size||100 in²|
|Balance||12.91in / 32.8cm|
|Lenght||27in / 68.58cm|
|Unstrung weight||11.18oz / 317g|
|Strung weight||12.1oz / 343g|
Here are the specs of Nadal’s racquet during the 2017 Roland-Garros final, according to Babolat’s official media sources. (Don’t pay attention to the cosmetics).
Rafael Nadal’s Racquet Modifications
Rafa didn’t change his setup very much throughout the years and stayed loyal to the racquet he started with at the beginning, changing paint jobs only.
These are the modifications Rafa made to his racquet:
- In 2012, he added 3 grams to the weight based on the recommendation of his uncle Toni. The goal was to find more power and length for his serves and groundstrokes, especially after suffering multiple defeats in 2011 against his rival Djokovic.
- In 2017, Nadal added 2 grams to the same place in the racquet head. And evidently, it affected his game positively by making an impressive comeback from injuries and winning 2 Grand Slams that year.
- In 2017 again, he added an overgrip to the handle, because the size of his grip was relatively small compared to his height and weight. This modification helped him to have a firmer grip, which is valuable, particularly for the serves and volleys. Another reason for this change could be to add weight to the handle to keep the same balance.
What Strings Does Rafael Nadal Use?
Rafael Nadal currently strings his racquet with a full bed of RPM Blast 15L/1.35 at 55lbs / 25kg.
The RPM Blast is a famous string known for its enormous spin and controlled power. The 15L/1.35 gauge is thick, which helps him get massive power and good control.
Nadal is probably the player with the biggest RPM (round per minute) numbers on the Tour.
The choice of RPM Blast lies in the fact that the surface is slick and allows the strings to space out and snap back to put more spin on the ball.
In addition, the thick 15L/1.35 gauge is the most durable and offers a soft and dead feel compared to other co-poly strings.
Overall, this is ideal for a big hitter looking for control, spin, feel, and durability.
Nadal’s choice of strings has changed from time to time and here are the main changes:
|Period||Model & Gauge||Tension (full bed)|
|2005 – 2008||Pro Hurricane 1.35||55lbs – 25kg|
|2009 – 2017||RPM Blast 1.35||55lbs – 25kg|
|2016||Luxilon Big Banger Original 1.30||55lbs – 25kg|
|2016 – 2022||RPM Blast 1.35||55lbs – 25kg|
Is Nadal’s Racquet Available?
Acquiring Nadal’s old Babolat AeroPro Drive racquet is not an easy task. You should conduct a thorough search on ebay.com or prostocktennis.com since Babolat stopped producing this frame years ago.
Even if you had your hands on one by chance; there are many modifications to do to match Nadal’s specs between, weight, balance, Swingweight, and so on.
Luckily, Babolat recently released the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Origin racquet, which is a frame with roughly the same specs as Rafa. This allows you to feel the sensations of Nadal’s racquet on a tennis court.
Read Also: What Shoes Is Rafael Nadal Wearing in 2022? (Surprising)