The whole panda thing is never knowingly undersold by Chengdu and the Sichuan province. There was no organised trip to see them this year, and Ronnie O’Sullivan insisted he might go “another time” when asked if he planned to use his early day off to visit one of the nearby reserves, opting instead for a hard day’s practice.

But there was little escape from images of the endangered species around the complex, with cuddly toys strewn over every desk. And coverage of the tournament on CCTV5 featured trailers after every advert break featuring a grinning John Higgins and Shaun Murphy waving a black and white soft toy as big as 10-year-old child at the camera.