DUBAI // The inflatable scarlet hearts scream and the scribbled pink chalkboards shriek. Today, for one day only, there is no escaping it: Love.
Be it players' feelings towards the city, spectators' emotional attachment to their partners or simply a one-sided tennis match, the famous four-letter word will be on the lips of all those at the Aviation Club.
Valentine's Day is adored and abhorred almost in equal measure, depending on the person in question's Facebook status.
Fortunately for the majority of the 56 females competing in this week's WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, this afternoon provides a valid distraction from Cupid's glare as they take part in the first round proper.
With the eight top seeds from the field being gifted byes (a more appropriate offering than a red-ribboned cuddly toy, one would imagine), players such as Caroline Wozniaki, the world No 2, and Li Na, last month's Australian Open finalist, can enjoy the first couple of days however they choose.
Yet for the likes of Flavia Pennetta - seeded 11th, ranked 16th and facing wild card Jelena Dokic - and Ana Ivanovic - three places below the Italian in both the seedings and the rankings and meeting Patty Schnyder - the next two days are a chance to find early form and set themselves up as best as possible for a successful second round tie.
France, long recognised as the most romantic of romantic countries, has provided a finalist in five of the tournament's 10 years, with Amelie Mauresmo lifting the silver vase in 2002.
Yet this year, the sole French flag flyer is Marion Bartoli, who was quick to utter that cursed little quartet of letters during Saturday's draw.
"I love being in Dubai," she said. "I'm going to try my hardest to get further than in previous years and I'm just really looking forward to getting started now."
It could be argued Bartoli's quest for the lion's share of the US$2 million (Dh7.34m) prize purse has been made easier by the late withdrawals of Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova.
But while the billboards surrounding the 5,000-seat Dubai Tennis Stadium - proclaiming "The Stars Are Back" alongside images of some of the tournament's biggest draws - have lost a little pizzazz with each late injury-forced withdrawal, the week-long competition continues to boast eight of the game's top 10 women players.
And with the event guaranteed to produce a new winner, the motivation to triumph from such a strong field will be stronger than ever.
Wozniacki can regain the No 1 ranking with an impressive week in Dubai. She fell last year in the second round to Israel's Shahar Peer, who played all of her matches under heavy security on a tree-lined sidecourt.
Peer returns this week after being granted a visa. She meets Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez and will be motivated to go one better than her semi-final finish of last year and finally grace the Aviation Club's Centre Court.