For many, the DFS Classic began yesterday as the double defending champion and queen of Edgbaston, Maria Sharapova, began her grass-court season.
Having been given a first-round bye and then seen her appointment with Ahsha Rolle rained off on Tuesday, the Russian teenager (pictured) finally got her campaign under way with an increasingly assured straight-sets victory over a decent American challenger.
Although it wasn't her best grass court tennis - it was never supposed to be at this stage of the tournament - despite the 80-minute long rain interruption, most of the vintage Sharapova was in evidence.
There were a few glimpses of the punishing forehand, the odd reminder of the power in her double-handed backhand and the customary competitive intensity which, once it had kicked in, proved too great for Rolle to overcome.
The shot of the day was the clubbing cross-court backhand service return at 30-15 in the opening game of the second set that buzzed beyond Rolle before she had laid a single toe beyond the service line.
The Siberian's psychological supremacy was demonstrated by the production of five break points throughout the match and the conversion of four. By comparison, she faced five and lost just one. Proof that tennis is played as much with the head as with the hands.
But at least the player ranked 143rd in the world gave the centre court a little-seen sight of the lesser spotted serve-volleyer, a rare breed indeed in these days of grunting baseliners and for all but the last rites of the encounter, it was interesting to watch how she managed to upset Sharapova's rhythm with her chip-and-charge tactics.
Although Rolle never recovered from losing her serve in the third game, she stuck to her task admirably and kept the competition's No 1 seed on her toes throughout the first set.
The second was rather more of a procession as the world No 4 grew in confidence. "It's just a matter of getting the matches under my belt, " Sharapova surmised following her 6-4, 6-2 success.
"It was at least good to be back on grass again.
"As the match went on, I started to feel better about my game.
"It takes a few days to get used to things but, as you do, you gain in confidence. It's not possible to play your best tennis in a first-round match, especially on a surface on which you only play a few tournaments a year."
Which means that her progress through her first grasscourt game for 11 months was a mission accomplished.
She'll have to improve for potential meetings at the business end of the event with Jelena Jankovic and Francesca Schiavone and have to go several gears higher to stand a chance at Wimbledon but she under-stands that.
"I know there's far more to come," she said. "I'm looking forward to raising my game, which is what you try to do at every tournament."
The rain disruptions do not help. The 19-year-old was leading 3-2 after 20 minutes when play was suspended. It is a measure of her state of mind this year that she stayed in the clubhouse and chatted before resuming her unfinished business.
" You have to be prepared for it. It was a lot more slippery than other days and that is in the back of your mind a bit. You realise you might have to go on and off a few times, but that's the way it is - it's good preparation for Wimbledon."
And also for a third consecutive DFS crown.