Babolat Play Drive Tennis Racquet Wishlist
So we're nearly midway through February now (I know, it's going too fast, right?) and it already feels like it has been a pretty busy year.  2014's first Grand Slam event is already in the books and the Olympics are well underway in Sochi, Russia.  Even so, I'd like to take another quick look back at one of 2013's last tennis offerings:  the Babolat Play Pure Drive.

The world's first-ever connected racquet has now been in the hands of consumers for nearly two months and I've gotten to spend a fair amount of time with mine.  There's no doubt that Babolat Play is an amazing piece of technology as is, but I've got to say that it's really captured my imagination.  It has me thinking about features that could be included in future versions of the technology.  In that spirit, I've put together my "wishlist" of features that could make Babolat Play Technology even better when the next generation of the technology is released.

1.  Make it portable between racquets.  I'd love to see this technology become a bit more flexible so that you could easily "plug and play" between different racquets.  Simply put, it would be great to buy one Babolat Play unit, and be able to use it with my racquet of choice and easily switch it to another frame if I need or want to do so.  Understandably, this is easier said than done.  Based on some info from the Babolat tech rep it sounds like a difficult proposition, but it would definitely broaden the appeal of the technology and it's a feature I'd love to see.

2.  Better "power" rating system.  When you drill down into the detailed analysis of a training session in the Babolat Play app or website, you can see an average "power rating" assigned to your forehands and backhands.  What's a little odd is that the power rating is expressed as a percentage.  While it's clear enough that a higher percentage means that you're hitting with more power, how exactly does that translate to the real world?  If my power rating is 50%, what is that being compared to and how does it translate to miles- or kilometers-per-hour?

According to the Babolat tech rep, the answer is that Babolat had Andy Roddick hit some serves with a Babolat Play Pure Drive and they measured the force of the impact.  So, the power rating percentage on all of your shots is relative to the force of an Andy Roddick serve.  Knowing that, a 47% power rating on my forehands doesn't seem so bad, but I'd love to see real-world numbers like miles- or kilometers-per-hour.  I don't know how exactly Babolat would execute it (maybe special balls with an accelerometer inside?) but it would be way cool to know that I hit my forehands an average of 70 MPH with a max of 90 MPH—and yes, those speeds are probably wishful thinking.  At the least, I'd love to be able to compare my forehand and backhand apples-to-apples with a pro's forehand and backhand.

3.  Better spin recognition.  Currently, the Babolat Play recognizes topspin, slice, and flat shots based upon the angle of the racquet face at ball impact.  It works fairly well most of the time, but it does seem a little finicky.  For instance, I know that virtually all of my shots are hit with topspin, but during one hitting session, 40% of my forehands registered as flat.  In the next version of the technology, more accurate spin recognition would be a plus.  While they're at it, Babolat's engineers should figure out a way to display ball RPMs coming off the racquet.  Everyone is obsessed with more spin, so it would be neat to see an objective measurement of how much spin I'm really applying to the ball.

4.  Volleys.  My understanding is that this was originally a feature that Babolat engineers wanted to include.  Unfortunately, because so many players swing at their volleys, the racquet had trouble differentiating between slice forehands/backhands and volleys.  This feature isn't make-or-break and Babolat probably did the right thing by leaving it out if it really was that unreliable.  That being said, volleys are still an important part of tennis and getting this feature added in the future would definitely be great.

Check out the Babolat Play Pure Drive Tennis racquet!

Are there any features you'd like to see included in the next generation of Babolat Play technology?  Let us know in the comments section below!