What would you do if you were the all-time highest ranked (#9) Asian male tennis player?
If you’re like Paradorn “Ball” Srichipan, born and raised in Khon Kaen, you’d probably go and date Odette (a Thai supermodel), get yourself named by Time Magazine as one of “Asia’s Heroes,” and then go marry Miss Universe 2005 (Russian-Canadian, Nataile Glebova) a few years later for good measure.
At the height of his tennis career in 2004, Paradorn managed to beat tennis greats such as Andre Agassi and current world #1, Rafael Nadal. After a string of injuries, slip in play and a focus on life outside of professional tennis, Paradorn officialy retired in 2010. And while he may not be competing at Rolland Garros or Flushing Meadows again, Paradorn still coaches the Thailand Davis Cup team and is a huge advocate, evangelizer and motivator to get Thai kids to pick up the sport of tennis, a country with an affinity for badminton.
For those that decided to take the plunge into the amazing world of tennis in Thailand, most went to Santisook’s eight tennis courts on Sukhumvit Soi 38 which offers an affordable place to play at a convenient location.
There is no denying that doing anything outside can be brutal during Thailand’s hot season which is why Santisook features three covered courts as well as five open-air courts. As you probably expected, courts are typically booked in the early morning and right around sunset so call ahead for a reservation. Sure, some of the courts have seen better days, such as court four that has big pockmarks around the baseline. But the more you visit, the better acquainted you will become with which courts to choose, or how to use the court’s “character” to your advantage.
Fees range from 60 baht an hour for an outdoor court to 100 baht for a covered option. Don’t have a racquet? Only 50 baht an hour for a relatively modern composite version, and a huge bag of balls is only 50 baht an hour as well.
Ever dreamed of playing tennis with ball boys? Santisook can make it happen for you epicurean Bangkokians for the bargain price of 25 baht an hour. Now, if only they had line-judges, a chair-umpire, an ‘Eagle-Eye’ for call challenges and Anna Wintour cheering us on then we’d really feel like a tennis professional playing in a Grand Slam.
While reservations aren’t required, the courts are so busy you’re likely to be disappointed if you simply show up without calling first. The fee for lessons varies depending on what you want to learn and from which instructor. If you have any experience with tennis, we recommend asking for a “hitting partner” to make sure the instructor’s skill level is adequate and aligned with your needs.
Santisook Tennis Center
Location: 26 Sukhumvit Soi 38, take your first right down the soi and the courts are on the right-hand side just after the road curves to the left.
BTS: Thong Lor
Hours: 7 am-10 pm every day, all year round