He went from journeyman to big time real quick when he reached the quarterfinals at the 2021 US Open as a qualifier. He defeated Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman along the way, eventually losing to Medvedev.
He’s generally hung around the top 40 in the world since and reached a career high of number 22 in August of 2022. The Dutch number one employs a crafty gamestyle and is comfortable transitioning to net as well as hugging the baseline. Let’s take a look at his racquet of choice.
- Endorsed Racquet: Babolat Pure Aero 2023 (check price here)
- Actual Racquet: Babolat Pure Aero
- Strings: Babolat RPM Blast
A Real Pure Aero?
Botic reportedly uses and off the shelf Pure Aero racquet from Babolat. He previously used the 2013 Aero Pro Drive and upon its discontinuation eventually landed at the new Pure Aero.
Other professional players like Adrian Mannarino also had the same issue where Babolat either could not or would not source him paintjobs of the old Aero Pro Drives.
The Pure Aero grommets are the giveaway here. They sit flush with the beam of the frame. The string pattern is also conspicuously wide and open, even for 16×19 patterns.Embed from Getty Images
- Up close and personal with Botic’s racquet. It even has the anti-counterfeit dimples where the Babolat stripes are. This is usually not present on Babolat pro stocks, so it’s likely this is a retail model pulled from a pro shop shelf.
Botic’s specs are reported by a reputable professional tour stringer to be as follows:
- Strung mass: 333g
- Strung balance: 32.2 cm
- Strung swingweight: 333
- All specs are estimated from unstrung specs after stringing and overgrip
This is basically a stock Pure Aero with a bit of weight added to the handle to achieve a more headlight balance. He may have a smidge in the hoop to bump swingweight to his preferred value, but 333 is not terribly high as far as professionals are concerned.
This light racquet allows Botic to accelerate quickly despite his sometimes short backswings. It also helps him when scrambling on defense and for maneuverability at net.
The Pure Aero is generally a frame that does everything pretty well while providing a good amount of power and spin. It clearly does this for Botic too.
All that I can find on van de Zandschulp’s string setup is that he endorses Babolat’s flagship RPM Blast polyester. He likely uses this for its crisper response, high levels of spin and control, and ability to tame the power of his racquet.
Van de Zandschulp is another player that shows us a couple of things:
- Journeymen are still amazing at tennis
- Pros do not require super heavy racquets and high swingweights to succeed
He had one good run of form at a big tournament and backed it up with consistency at the tour level once he got there.
Sometimes all the players stuck in the Challenger circuit need is a lucky break or a good run of form (not saying that’s exactly what happened with Botic because he’s backed up his run swimmingly by hanging around the top 30 for more than a year).
Further, he plays high level tennis – he took the only set off Medvedev at the 2021 US Open – with a relatively light racquet. Just goes to show it’s the player, not the equipment!
If you’re interested in other ATP players’ racquets, I listed all the top 100 players’ racquets in this post.