Abandon hope all ye who enter the Table Eight twilight zone…

Up until the last 16 matches on Friday at the German Masters there will be seven tables in use in the main arena, and an eighth set up in a separate area off the main foyer, used as a VIP area for the latter stages. The circular open space, with shallow tiered steps allowing spectators to effectively sit on the floor, might conceivably provide a decent atmosphere if it was full. But the first two players to sample it on Wednesday, Kurt Maflin and Tom Ford, were far from impressed at being shunted away from the main auditorium. So angry was world No27 Ford, 30, after a 5-2 defeat that he picked up a formal warning from referee Greg Coniglio for using bad language. Complaints included the table conditions as well as the setting, with a handful of onlookers making for a surreal experience.

London-born Norwegian Maflin, 30, could at least make his comments from the perspective of having won the match and wanted to avoid being placed there again.

He said: “I didn’t really like it, to be honest – it felt like a practice game. For sure, you would rather be in the main arena. Maybe it would have been a bit different if it had been full in there, 200 people or something – a different atmosphere.

“But the table played awful, the cushions felt as if they were playing slow, there were a lot of kicks and echo sounds in there. I hope I am not in there for my next match.

“Tom was frustrated, Berlin is a great city and a great venue, you get here and then you get stuck in a room with four people, when you expect to be in the main arena.”