TFP 050: Babolat Racquet and Strings Review with Allan Iverson
On today’s episode I spoke with Allan Iverson, Babolat’s Sales Representative in Southern California and the 2014 Tennis Industry Sales Rep of the Year. Allan and I discussed the history of Babolat, the best approach to choosing racquets and strings, and improvements in tennis technology over the past few decades.
In addition to his job with Babolat, Allan is also a USPTA P-1 teaching pro with more than two decades of experience. In 2012, he was Babolat’s National Salesperson of the Year. Allan travels far and wide, including a recent trip to China, to help enrich the tennis industry’s knowledge about the latest products that Babolat has to offer. He has become such a wealth of information that one of Allan’s bosses recently said “his knowledge of the brand is better than anybody I have worked with.” Allan is no slouch on the court either; he played number one at his high school and all 4 years at Christ College of Irvine.
I hope you enjoy my interview with Allan! If you have an interest in racquets, strings (which tennis player doesn’t?), and tennis products in general, you will really like this episode. Choosing the right equipment for your game is crucial, and whether or not you go with Babolat products, you will learn a ton from Allan about what is available and how to determine what is best for your game. I use Babolat racquets and strings and highly recommend them. There are a ton of choices out there, and this episode will help you narrow down the playing field. Thanks for listening!
Time-Stamped Show Notes
- [3:35] How Allan became a highly respected sales rep for Babolat
- [5:20] The farthest that he has ever traveled to promote the Babolat brand
- [6:46] Allan’s favorite thing about being a Babolat sales manager?
- [7:56] What are 3 things most of the world doesn’t know about Allan?
- [9:30] When, where and how was Babolat founded?
- [12:47] What was Babolat’s first breakthrough product?
- [14:22] Which pro has done the most to further Babolat’s brand out of all the players, past and present, on the tour?
- [17:33] What is Babolat’s most successful racquet line of all time?
- [19:24] The difference between the European and American approach of making products
- [21:29] Longest tenured pro with Babolat
- [22:27] Tips for playtesting racquets and racquets in Babolat’s line that players should demo
- [25:31] What does the VS stand for in the VS Aero Pro line of racquets?
- [26:56] The new iteration of the Pure Control
- [28:03] What does the 16×20 string pattern do to a racquet’s feel/power/control?
- [29:19] What types of racquets in Babolat’s line are best suited for certain types of players?
- [31:17] The Pure Strike racquet that Dominic Thiem uses
- [32:04] Pure Aero VS racquet review
- [34:03] Allan’s take on the racquet
- [34:50] Pure Strike 100 racquet review
- [36:48] Allan’s take on the Pure Strike
- [38:34] Pure Strike Team 100 racquet review
- [41:01] What racquets would Allan recommend our audience try, being that most of our audience is between a 3.5-4.5 NTRP level
- [42:04] The racquet that Allan uses
- [43:19] How much has the Pure Aero changed since it first came on the market?
- [46:59] How long do frames normally “last” for before they decline in performance and the one thing that wears out your racquet the most
- [50:57] RPM Blast Rough strings review
- [52:23] Allan’s insight on RPM Blast Rough
- [55:23] Does color of string make a difference in the string’s performance, and the process of making different types of strings
- [57:36] Hybrid – RPM Blast / VS Touch strings review
- [1:01:33] Full vs half poly in the Aero Pro
- [1:03:44] Stringing with electric machines and other string choices
- [1:07:26] Best practices for stringing racquets
- [1:10:32] What string does Allan recommend 3.5-4.5 NTRP level players use, and how does this recommendation vary with other parameters (age, type of player, etc)?
- [1:11:47] How do we choose between 15L, 16, 17, and 18 gauge string?
- [1:13:27] Why Nadal plays with 15L gauge string.
- [1:14:18] What’s one thing about strings that players get wrong when choosing them
- [1:15:15] If Allan had to choose one racquet to represent the Babolat brand, which one would it be?
- [1:18:29] Babolat’s new solar powered bag that they haven’t been able to get into the U.S yet
- [1:19:28] What wearable technology does Babolat have for tennis players?
- [1:21:33] What is the new Babolat App and what are its features?
- [1:25:05] Where can we get the Babolat App?
- [1:26:21] What racquet models are compatible with connecting with the Babolat app?
- [1:27:59] What sources would you recommend to our audience to enhance their knowledge of tennis racquets and strings?
- [1:29:54] One piece of advice for the audience on how we can improve our tennis games (racquet/string related).
- [1:32:43] Types of grips (i.e. replacement grips vs overgrips, tacky vs absorbent, thin vs thick, etc.) that we can use
- [1:35:09] Where can we follow Allan and Babolat?
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Links Mentioned in the Show
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For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!