Finding the right tennis court can be a fuzzy, green ball-ache, so we've boiled down seven solid options, and how to book them. Memberships aren't necessary so all you'll need to get in is a Shanghai health code. You'll have to bring your own equipment; none of them are perfect, but what the hell, if you want luxury, go join a club!
One of the most prestigious courts in Shanghai - if not, the country - Changning's Xian Xia Tennis Center has hosted a variety of professional matches. They have eight outdoor courts and a slick indoor court with seating for 4,000 audience members. Everything is built to professional standards, but the showers are currently off limits.
Booking a slot: WeChat mini-program. Simply search ‘久事体育场馆’, click ‘网球’, and then ‘仙霞网球中心’ to check out. The biggest challenge here is possibly recognizing the Chinese characters.
Price range: Outdoor: 30-60rmb per hour; indoor: 160-220rmb per hour.
Luwan Stadium is a hot-spot because of its reasonable price and central location. There are showers and two air-conditioned indoor courts, plus four outdoor ones - all well maintained. Being home to the Shanghai Tennis Association means that getting a court can be tough. The booking process is an online scramble for the best slots.
Booking a slot: WeChat mini-program: GoSports (勾勾运动). Click ‘Luwan Racquet Club’ and everything is there. The app comes with an English interface for international users.
Price range: Outdoor: 50-90rmb per hour; indoor: 280rmb per hour.
Yuanshen in Pudong has ten hard courts in three tents and caters for more than just tennis. The location might be a turn-off, but the facilities are decent enough and showers are available for 10rmb per wash. They do provide equipment but the staff we spoke to admitted that it isn't exactly pro-quality, so your better off bringing your own. They've got online booking services, where you can also reserve for badminton and ping pong.
Booking a slot: To secure a place, guests can either: 1. go to the stadium in person - but make sure to check the time slots on the phone (5821 5850) beforehand; 2. follow their WeChat official account: 源深体育. View ‘场地预订’ for more details.
Price range: 110-180rmb per hour.
Jing’an Gymnasium is the go-to for the Puxi racket sport crowd. It's probably better known for badminton courts but they've got two indoor tennis courts with big windows for a bit of voyeuristic pregame viewing. No showers, but there is a changing room.
Booking a slot: Follow their WeChat official account ‘上海市静安区体育馆’. Click ‘场馆预定’ and then ‘网球’ to make reservations.
Price range: 300rmb per hour.
This one is a bit controversial. On one hand, people rave about the dreadful service; on the other hand, they keep going for the quality of the surfaces. Sounds like a toxic relationship. There are three outdoor courts, situated on Huashan Lu, but the entrance is on Caojiayan Lu. Be prepared for grumpy staff.
Booking a slot: As the most old-school venue in the collection, Changning Tennis Court accepts no online appointments. People have to be there physically to book a place (same day only). To check availability, call 6252 4436. Basic Chinese skills are required.
Price range: 60-120rmb per hour.
A short walk from Shanghai South Railway Station, Kangdong Tennis Court is one of the few places with clay courts in Shanghai. There are three indoor and four outdoor and they're usually quite empty on weekdays but packed at the weekends.
Booking a slot: WeChat mini program. Search ‘上海市体育场馆设施管理中心’ (or just ‘场馆中心’), and click ‘康东网球馆’ to schedule a time.
Price range: Outdoor: 60-110rmb per hour; indoor: 240-280rmb per hour.
Tennisline doesn't have courts for casual games, but they offer coaching services from professional instructors. Occupying three locations in Shanghai, they hold mainly beginner classes to children and adults, but also personalized tutorials. The Huangpu branch has one indoor court and two outdoor courts. All equipment is provided - so all you need to bring is you A-game.
Booking a session: WeChat official account: tennisline. A real person, not robots, will be answering requests.
Price range: from 250rmb per hour. One-on-one/two-on-one classes can be booked anytime. Group classes are only available on a long-term basis (9 weeks).
Interested in finding more tennis courts? Then head to SmartShanghai's Tennis Court Directory.