Fabio Fognini. His behavior on court edges on the dramatic side more often than not. His very Italian protest of a call at Wimbledon still pops up on social media “Top Ten” lists and highlights, and he’s been suspended for verbally assaulting an umpire.
He’s also produced some magical tennis with multiple wins over Rafael Nadal, including a comeback from 2 sets to love down at the US Open. Whether you love him or hate him, it’s difficult to debate this polarizing Italian’s skill on a tennis court.
He has this uncanny ability to generate power seemingly from nowhere. His swings are short yet explosive, and his quickness around the court empower him to play some impressive defense.
Despite his relatively small stature, Fabio generates some awesome pace off of both wings. While this is mostly a result of his talented hands and years hitting a tennis ball, his racquet helps him out here too.
Here’s Fabio Fognini’s racquet setup:
- Endorsed Racquet: Babolat Pure Drive 2021
- Actual Racquet: Babolat Pure Drive Original
- Strings: Babolat RPM Blast 130
Which Racquet and Why Does It Work?
Fabio uses a Babolat Pure Drive, but not just any Pure Drive. He eschews all of the technology laid into one of the most popular frames in the world for the Original all graphite version.
His doesn’t have Woofer Grommets, Cortex dampening, or anything of the like. In fact, his original grommets are a dead giveaway that he is using the original.
Before the 2018 retail Pure Drive released, his string pattern was obviously more open and could only have been the Original, as from the second version forward, the string spacing had become more dense in the center and Woofer grommets were introduced.
The 2018 Pure Drive returned to the string spacing of the original, touting more power and spin than some of the more modern iterations.
The bumper guard on his frames also matches the original – we can see the lead tape under it too!
So, Fabio weights up his racquets. Adding weight to a Pure Drive is like dumping an entire jug of lighter fluid on a bonfire.
He’s got a bazooka in his hands, folks. It’s exactly what he needs to make his seemingly effortless strokes so powerful.
Fabio’s racquet come in right around 341g, 33.4 cm balance, and 345 swingweight strung up with an overgrip and dampener.
This combination of a powerful racquet, relatively high swingweight and head heavy balance are what help him generate power from short backswings and to play sturdy defense.
It’s not going to be the easiest racquet to use for an amateur player with its clubby balance and high power level, but it fits Fabio excellently.
Fabio strings his Pure Drives with RPM Blast 16 at 27 kg in the mains and 25 kg in the crosses. This is fairly high and also necessary to tame the power of his frame.
I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but here we are again with a pro whose racquet accentuates their game style.
Fabio needs the power and forgiveness from his Pure Drive, and the added weight allows him to both fend off heavy offense and generate power at the professional level. It’s that simple folks: play with what suits you.