So it’s here, the first televised ranking event of the season.
Is it really four months since Neil Robertson won the world final at some ungodly hour?
Yes, and the players have hardly been idle since, what with the PTCs, qualifiers and various other small tournaments to keep them occupied.
But TV snooker is where it’s at and the Shanghai Masters kicks it all off tomorrow.
I won’t rehash the arguments over the inclusion of wildcards but I’d be amazed if all eight qualifiers won tomorrow. Some of the invited Chinese players are more than capable of springing upsets.
Chief among them is Tian Pengfei, who has won his wildcard match in the last three China-based ranking tournaments he has taken part in.
In two of these he has then reached the last 16. Jamie Burnett is therefore bang under pressure. Despite being a professional for 18 years, most of his snooker has been played away from the television environment and although the Shanghai crowd is fair, they are obviously going to be supporting the local man.
Of the other wildcards, Jin Long has bags of experience and may cause Robert Milkins a few problems.
I’d be surprised, though, if Ken Doherty and Dave Harold, two vastly experienced combatants, lost to the two non-Chinese wildcards, Mohammad Sajjad of Pakistan and Thailand’s Passakorn Suwannawat.
Eurosport’s live coverage starts at 7.30am (UK time) on Eurosport 2 and on three mornings this week will offer a choice of tables on the main channel and E2.
An annual reminder for those who want to throw rocks about the choice of matches for the TV tables: Eurosport have no say in this. The decision is made in China by the promoters, host broadcasters and World Snooker.
You can, if you so desire, tweet questions at me, some of which I will endeavour to answer on air. If you don’t understand what that sentence means, I’m talking about twitter. I’m @davehendon.
So the scene is set for what will hopefully be an entertaining week on the table, as we all know the John Higgins tribunal is likely to steal most of the headlines whatever the result on Wednesday.
Finally a word on live scoring: apparently there isn’t any.
The revamp of worldsnooker.com is eagerly awaited and I’m sure will be a vast improvement but, in the meantime, I make the following polite request to the governing body...
Set up a static page on the site and update the match scores manually every 20 minutes or so. 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 etc. That way, snooker fans will be able to follow what is happening on the non-TV tables.
I don’t think that is asking much.
EDIT: And worldsnooker.com are now doing this very thing here.