In the build-up to the Shaun Murphy/Ding Junhui match no fewer than EIGHT former world champions were mingling and exchanging banter in the media centre at the same time. The cast list included Murphy himself as he prepared to go out into the arena, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor, Terry Griffiths, Joe Johnson, John Higgins and Ken Doherty, with a combined haul of 22 world titles won at the Crucible.

Johnson and Higgins were also quick to patch up their minor spat that hit the headlines during the UK Championship, initially sparked by a very strong headline placed on a piece the Yorkshireman had done for a Scottish newspaper discussing the Glaswegian’s recent spell of poor form and changes of cue this season.