Latest Tennis News – French Open
An incredible nine titles in ten years for Rafael Nadal, and all of them won with the same racket! The Babolat AeroPro Drive, the racket specifically designed and built for Rafa, has, in its various guises, been the racket that has seen him to all nine titles. The last five of those titles have also all been won with the same string – Babolat’s RPM Blast. No matter what event he plays, what surface it’s on, or who he’s facing, Rafa always strings his rackets at 25kg, (55lbs), tension. This is the tension he finds gives him the best combination of power, touch, and feel, whilst enabling him to generate more than 3,000 rpm on his topspin forehand.
Runner up Novak Djokovic fought hard, but after taking the first set and pushing Rafa to a 7-5 second set, his challenge faded and he won only six more games. As usual, Novak used the Head YouTek Graphene Speed Pro 18/20 strung with a hybrid of Babolat VS Team natural gut main strings and Luxilon Alu Power Rough cross strings.
Andy Murray showed he has fully recovered from his back surgery last autumn with a strong run to the semi-final, where he was unceremoniously despatched by Nadal in straight sets. Andy used the latest version of the Head Radical, the Head YouTek Graphene Radical Pro, strung with a hybrid of Luxilon Alu Power polyester main strings and Babolat VS Team natural gut cross strings. The other semi-finalist was Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis, who had scored a surprise win over Roger Federer earlier in the tournament. Gulbis took a set from Djokovic, but was unable to go all the way. Gulbis’ racket of choice was the Wilson Steam 96 strung with Luxilon Alu Power.
In the Ladies’ Singles Maria Sharapova went one better than her 2013 runners up spot, taking the title for a second time in three years after a marathon three set encounter with Simona Halep. Sharapova used the latest incarnation of Head’s relatively new Instinct racket, the Head YouTek Graphene Instinct, strung with her by now customary hybrid of Babolat VS Team main strings and Babolat RPM Blast crosses. On the other side of the net Halep was using the Wilson Steam 99S racket, strung with Luxilon Alu Power.
Babolat not only had the Men’s Singles winner this year, they also had the Men’s Doubles winners using their rackets as well. Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Julian Benneteau became the first Frenchmen to take the doubles title since Yannick Noah and Henri Leconte in 1984, when they beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the final. Both Roger-Vasselin and Benneteau play the Babolat Pure Drive racket. Roger-Vasselin uses Babolat Pro Hurricane strings, and Benneteau uses Babolat VS Team natural gut. For good measure, Lopez also uses the Babolat Pure Drive, whilst Granollers plays with the Prince Tour 100.
This year a total of 4,163 rackets were strung during the tournament, (up from 3,847 in 2013), with 408 of them being strung on the busiest day of the event, the first Sunday. The average tension asked for by the men was 24kg, (53lbs), whilst the average amongst the ladies was slightly higher at 25kg, (55lbs). The highest tension requested was a rock hard 31.5kg, (69.5lbs), by Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, and the lowest was an incredibly saggy 10.5kg, (23lbs), by Italy’s Filippo Volandri.
Babolat was the most popular racket, with 35% of the players using their frames, followed by Wilson with 30%, and Head in third place with 20%.