Complaints about tables and playing conditions are always quick to make it into the media, so in the interests of balance credit should probably be given to those responsible for such matters at the Newport Centre this year, at least in the first week. On the face of it the equation doesn’t appear to be rocket science – give the technicians the time and the tools to do the job, and they should be able to get it right more often than not. Compliments were the order of the day at the 128-player stage for the four-table set-up in the arena in Wales, chief World Snooker Services fitter on site Chris Barnes having had five full days to allow the Star tables to settle down. That contrasts with at times two or less on tour this season, notably in India.
At least one former world champion was heard saying as an aside after his press conference: “It was really nice out there, we’re going to have to find something else to moan about.”