The traditional opening ceremony was almost low-key by China standards, and lacking the horse-drawn carriage ride for pairs of players that were a prominent feature last time the International Championship was staged at the Sichuan Tennis Center two years ago.

The traditional red carpet was swapped for a green one, and players had to sit through a series of speeches from bigwigs flanked by two giant alabaster-looking giant pandas and three more in mascot costume in the post-match press conference room at the venue, before retiring to the adjacent hotel for dinner on the Saturday.

This tournament has led a slightly nomadic existence in its brief history with already two switches of venue, now back at the original site. And the table-fitters were given extra time to prepare this year, enabling them to bed the tables in properly and make some of the ‘moving ground’ issues that dogged the operation in 2012 less likely to impact on the conditions.