This time last year, Maria Sharapova confirmed her potential as a grass court contender, winning her first title on the surface at Edgbaston.
Yesterday there was no talk of mere potential as the Wimbledon champion, described by experts as "the most marketable woman in the history of sport," established herself as the centre of attention before she had so much as lifted a racket.
Seeded first, the 18-year-old Russian enters the DFS Classic at the second-round stage today against Luxembourg's Anne Kremer.
Her scheduled contribution on the first day was to a first-round doubles match at the foot of the programme but her presence in the players' lounge, glass-fronted to the delight of camerahappy youngsters and excitable male corporate guests, was as intriguing to many as the action on centre court.
The weight of Sharapova's presence was confirmed when, in gathering gloom, it was decided to move her match to an outside court, rather than await the completion of Elena Baltacha's victory on centre.
Word spread of the switch, and many left Baltacha to wrap up her final two games against Alyona Bondarenko, of the Ukraine. Certainly, there were few hanging around afterwards to congratulate the British No 1.
Ten minutes' more patience, and Maria could have taken her centre court bow. Instead, banks of grass were more crowded, with massed plastic chairs and hordes standing behind them, than might necessarily be deemed safe.
Those braving the cold were rewarded with two Marias, in identical longsleeved dresses with what might well be defined as clam diggers protruding to warm the legs.
Sharapova's doubles partner Maria Kirilenko, three years older but of lesser stature in both