Classic Racket Review: Babolat Pure Storm GT Ltd

Michael Flanigan | 22/4/22

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Released a little over a decade ago, the Babolat Pure Storm line featured control-orientated, low-powered rackets that many consider deserve their place amongst the classic rackets in the sport. While there were several iterations of the Pure Storm GT, reviewed today is the rarest of them all: The Limited Edition.

This one bears the 2011 paintjob – a cosmetic update from the Pure Storm GT’s initial release in 2009. The Limited Edition shares a lot of features with the more common Pure Storm Tour, such as the mass and overall construction, but features a tighter, 18x20 string pattern and a smaller 95 sq. inch headsize, enhancing control. Not to mention a more head light balance and dramatically lower twistweight for increased manoeuvrability.

This sadly discontinued racket was one of Babolat's more challenging and unforgiving frames to handle, giving it a reputation for being a real "players racket." The lower stiffness and thin, box-beam construction meant it was more in common with Wilson's Pro Staff line than other Babolat rackets.

To get this racket ready for playtesting, a leather grip has been fitted along with thin, 1.20mm gauge hybrid strings to enhance the great feel of this racket, as well as open up the dense 18x20 pattern as much as possible for spin.


Headsize: 95 sq. inches

Strung Mass: 340 grams

Balance: 31.0cm

String Pattern: 18x20

Playtest Strings: MSV Focus-Hex Plus 38/Toalson Asterisk.

On court, the racket plays beautifully… providing you can hit the sweet spot that is!

The high mass of 340 grams strung and low balance of 31cm (again, strung) makes you step up into the court to play aggressively and freely. On contact, the ball feels plush and solid, with the low twistweight allowing the racket to whip rapidly over the ball on groundstrokes – benefitting advanced players with intense groundstrokes who play with maximum racket head speed.

However, that uniquely low twistweight of 9.9kgcm^2 is perhaps a little too low. And while this makes the racket feel fast in a good player's hands, it has reduced the sweetspot size dramatically, even for the 95 sq. inch headsize. Off-centre hits on the Pure Storm GT Ltd can feel particularly jarring at times – so be sure to drop the tension a little lower than usual when getting this frame strung.

Another point of concern may also lie in that very dense 18x20 pattern. While this does provide excellent control – especially at the net – in the smaller 95 sq. inch head it could prove overly tight for some players, who may see an impact on spin generation. Defensive players might struggle with this low-powered frame – particularly on the return of serve where the low stability again makes it tricky to nail consistent returns. Babolat’s GT technology reportedly aids frame stability somewhat, so I wouldn’t want to play without it.

Despite the Babolat badge, this is not a racket that I would recommend to anything less than an advanced or pro-style player as the handling difficulty and definitive play required to get the best out of it may hold back the average recreational player.

It becomes apparent very quickly that this racket was designed with serious customisation and tuning in mind, for serious players who can handle heavy, high swingweight frames. While defensive players may struggle, aggressive, attacking playstyles will marry extremely well with the Babolat Pure Storm GT Ltd, as the racket simply does not understand any other language.

There are very few rackets manufactured this side of 2010 that play quite like the Pure Storm GT Ltd, and Babolat has not made anything quite like it since. The rarity of this frame can make sourcing one tricky, but should you see this racket in a fellow club player’s racket bag, or discarded in a storeroom, I highly recommend checking it out.