Babolat Origin Review and Play Test
String: Babolat Origin (16g)
Construction: Polyamide Monofilament
Racket Used: Babolat Pure Aero
Tension: 59 lbs (about 27 kg)
Previous String in Frame: None (first time using this racket)
Cost: $22 a set
Strung Date: October 18th
Strings Broke: Strings Still Have not Broke as of November 7th
Origin – What You Need to Know
Babolat origin is a string that’s capable of about as much power as natural gut, that holds tension well, generates a decent amount of spin (not a lot of topspin on ground strokes though), and doesn’t move around too much (even with a very modern fast swing). It’s more durable than natural gut and is a lot easier/less stressful to string (irrelevant if you’re not a stringer). That being said I personally didn’t think the feel/pop was all that great in comparison to natural gut or even Babolat Synthetic Gut. It’s an expensive string that will probably make more sense in a hybrid configuration for most players. Read on for all the details of my experience with Babolat Origin.
Origin – What I Loved
With great power comes great responsibility – that should be the tagline for this string. Serve is where I noticed the most significant improvement. Even without trying I was hitting very penetrating serves that with a Poly/Multi hybrid setup normally wouldn’t give my students any problems. With this string returns in play percentage from my opponents dropped noticeably and I wasn’t trying to serve anyone off the court. In addition the feel on serve was great. A lot of times with polyesters I have no confidence in my serve but with this string I never felt worried about going for a little more.
I was happy with the performance of this string from the baseline for the most part. You can hit with a little more spin than you’d think for such a “power first” string. However, if balls come in with a lot of pace it can be a challenge to keep your shots in. Moving strings is one of my major pet peeves and this string stays in place pretty well… better than most multifilmaents I’ve used (yes I know technically Origin is not a multifilament but it plays like one).
Origin – What I Hated
Even at 59 lbs this string is going to be too powerful in a full bed for a lot of players. I’d probably go in at 62 or 63 lbs in the future if I was ever to go full bed with this string again. I really struggled keeping basic volleys in the court, especially when the ball was coming with pace. You also need to be careful on approach shots. It’s easy to fly balls long that normally dip in with a poly hybrid.
I didn’t find the feel to be all that “crisp” as the description describes but I know that’s incredibly subjective. That being said it should still be soft enough for most players. But if you want “comfort first” look elsewhere because this string is power first, feel second.
I know Babolat wants us to compare Origin ($22) to their VS Gut ($43) when it comes to price/performance but we all know that’s like comparing apples to oranges. I do think this is an impressive string that does offer something different but for $22 a set it’s going to be out of most peoples price range who string 12 to 20 times a year. If you were to hybrid this string with a cheaper polyester like black magic the total cost would be about $15 and that seems a little more reasonable but still steep for a recreational player. I guess the one thing I would say is if you’re a natural gut user you could always try this string and if it turns out that it performs well for you then you could potentially save some money. But remember if you are using natural gut for the “feel” this string will not match that.
Who this string IS for
This string is definitely marketed towards players using multifilaments that feel they aren’t getting enough repulsion power (“dwell time”). That is a fairly common complaint. There are a ton of 3.0-4.0 adults that I think would love Babolat Origin. This string would also work well for junior players using low powered rackets that aren’t strong enough for a polyester hybrid just yet.
For people who find natural gut in a hybrid poly setup too powerful origin would be the logical “step down” to try. You can go pretty tight with this string without fear of premature breakage. That being said you’ll definitely be leaving something to be desired in the feel department.
For players using shaped, coated, or rough polyesters (think RPM rough or True Grit) you will definitely want to try Origin in a hybrid since you can’t risk natural gut with the shaped polys. Personally this is how I would use and recommend Origin.
Who this string is NOT for
Babolat Origin should be suitable for most players if you know what you want to accomplish with it. For example a player with very fast modern swings could use this string assuming they are using a low powered racket and very high tension. Players with high powered rackets that are still struggling for power could use this string at a lower tension. Like most stringing decisions you need to understand and know what you want. But for most players I’d probably still encourage a hybrid setup (either origin in the crosses or in the mains) of some kind just to temper the raw power of this string.
There was a lot of hype around this string when it was first released. When a synthetic string promises “gut like performance” or “revolutionary design,” as so many are ought to do, I’m extremely skeptical. I think this string delivers on the “power” but certainly lacks in feel (compared to natural gut). On the plus side it’s more durable than natural gut and you can feel more secure stringing at a higher tension.
For my game Origin in a full string bed (like natural gut) is too powerful. I especially notice this on defensive volleys and defensive/redirect shots from the baseline that are coming in with a lot of pace (both tend to fly long even at a high tension). I could see myself experimenting with Origin in the mains and something like RPM Blast Rough or True Grit in the crosses to try and temper that power. For the cost I don’t really think I’d use origin as a cross string as I honestly prefer the feel/pop of Babolat Synthetic Gut to Origin (I don’t need the extra power), but for players who need more power in their hybrid setups and don’t want to spend the money on natural gut give Origin a try.
Finally, I’ll reiterate, if you’re a fan of the shaped or rough polyesters a string like Origin makes a lot of sense to experiment with in a hybrid setup if you need more power. The shaped polyesters chew through natural gut pretty quick so it’s not really a viable option. Origin should hold up to the friction of the rough/shaped polys much better than natural gut.