Nadal opts for added oomph with racket
Racket manufacturer Babolat tell us how they responded to Rafael Nadal's desire to achieve extra power in his Aero Pro Drive stick for the 2012 season
Rafael Nadal's preparation for the 2012 season has not been entirely ideal but the Spaniard is confident his move to a heavier racket will benefit his game in the long term.
The 10-time Grand Slam champion is still playing with his Babolat Aero Pro Drive racket, but with the frame’s specifications slightly adapted.
“I’m trying to play with a little bit heavier racket, to get a little bit more power,” Nadal told reporters in Doha this week. “[With the new racket] I’m losing a little bit of control now, sometimes I don’t feel the forehand as good as before. But it’s something that I believe can help me in future.”
Babolat, who regularly support professional players and respond to their precise needs, told us that rather than focussing on the overall weight of the racket, they have fine-tuned Nadal’s racket swing weight by seven points to make it more head heavy and provide extra punch through the air.
With the process taken care of, the world No.2 can now focus on adjusting to the change – a decision he had initially considered after losing out to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final last September.
In the end, Nadal’s busy schedule reduced the amount of time he has been able to adapt to his altered weapon, with tournaments in Tokyo, Shanghai and London preceeding the Davis Cup final and a shoulder injury during the off season.
“I had to stop after the Davis Cup finals,” admitted Nadal. “I had all the rackets prepared at home to change. In theory I’m supposed to practice almost a month or at least three weeks with the [modified] racket, but finally I practiced only one week, and I’m here now, so probably it’s not good enough.
“You can't think that everything will be perfect from the beginning but you make the change thinking it’ll be better in the future,” he added.
“There’s no magic, but the new racket can help a little bit to improve my game.”