The 19 year old Spaniard is the reigning US Open champion and was recently crowned world #1 (in a year where Djokovic missed 2 majors and Nadal hardly played besides the majors, but we’ll get to that later).
As we might expect, loads of fuss is being made about his racquet. It looks exactly like the one you can buy off the shelf, but online forums are screaming:
- Is it a pro stock version?
- What are his specs?
- How does he string it?
- He must have a small grip size with that big forehand!
- How else is it special?
People in these message boards are straight-up obsessed with what the young Champion is wielding while he dominates the tour.
Let’s answer all these questions regarding the young spaniards equipment!
Here’s Carlos Alcaraz’s current racquet setup:
- Endorsed Racquet: Babolat Pure Aero VS/Pure Aero 98 2023
- Actual Racquet: Babolat Pure Aero VS 2020 – unknown if he updated to the ’23 layup
- Strings: Babolat RPM Blast 130/16g @ 25/24 or 25/23kg depending on conditions
What Is He Using?
Well, it appears that Carlitos is using something we mere mortals can buy at the local pro shop: the 2020 Pure Aero VS.
There’s nothing flashy going on here because he doesn’t even seem to customize it. His specs are 305g, 317mm balance, and 293 swingweight unstrung as confirmed by the official Babolat account on Tennis Warehouse’s message board Talk Tennis.
That translates to about 327g, 327mm balance, and 323 swingweight all strung up and overgripped. He even uses a 4-1/2” (L4) grip size which is on the larger side these days.
He was sporting the new 2023 Pure Aero paintjob at the US Open, and it is unknown whether he switched to the refreshed, softer layup.
An educated guess would say that he kept his old frame and is now getting the new paint over the old layup, but it’s impossible to tell as the shape of the 2020 and 2023 Pure Aero VS—called the Pure Aero 98 for the 2023 iteration—is identical.
Does He Customize?
It’s likely that Carlos does not customize his racquets unless necessary for matching purposes. While some companies like Head make their pro stock racquets lighter by producing them without weight that is normally added to the frames destined for retail shelves, Babolat designates their pro stocks as “Competition” frames internally.
These racquets are made to stricter quality control standards from the factory, and some were made in Lyon, France at one recent point in time. They may have some slight differences in the graphics such as missing racquet specification decals but otherwise are the same as retail racquets.
Some are paintjobs of old frames, but Babolat claims all their pro stock racquets were once available at retail. Though we may not be able to buy them right now, we could at one point.
So, Babolat frames received by sponsored professionals are matched or close to it from the get-go. If a professional requires added weight, Babolat’s in-house team in Lyon is able to do that, but if these reported specs are true Carlos’ frames have none of that.
Of course, we won’t know until somebody on a message board or blog is able to toss one of his racquets on a RDC, but for now it’s safe to assume that’s what he uses until proven otherwise.
Why Is This Awesome?
If you saw Carlos’ racquet come through the pro shop for stringing without his name on it, you might not be able to tell it apart from any other weekend hacker’s weapon of choice: off-the-shelf frame with thick, stiff polyester, and strung fairly tight. And I think that’s what makes this kid so intriguing!
He’s not swinging a customized original AeroPro Drive like that one Spanish great or a bespoke version of an old, discontinued Head mold like a Serbian some love to hate.
He doesn’t add weight, and there’s nothing noteworthy about his racquet apart from probably having the updated paint on it. He’s playing a frame we can all get for ourselves and chopping up the rest of the tour while doing it.
If you’re interested in other ATP players’ racquets, I listed all the top 100 players’ racquets in this post.