World number one Andy Murray swatted away the fears that he would not be ready to defend his Wimbledon title, beating world number 134 Alexander Bublik in the opening round.
Murray had been hampered by a hip injury, which had prevented him from playing two exhibition matches last week, however he had little trouble reaching the second round.
The steely Scot was in fine form as he recorded a 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory in a rain interrupted contest, which lasted one hour and 44 minutes on Centre Court.
Like in his practice sessions last Friday, there were a few grimaces and an occasional hobble from the top seed, however when the ball was in play he appeared to be moving freely.
It bodes well for the Brit’s chances of winning back-to-back titles at SW19 and he will now advance to a second-round meeting with grass-court specialist Dustin Brown.
Bublik fades after confident start
Bublik, who only qualified for the main draw as a lucky loser, had been portrayed as a confident character, expressing in a BBC interview before the match that he was looking forward to showing the world his trick shots.
The 20-year-old showed little signs of nerves in the opening game of the match, earning two break points on the Murray serve with a couple heavy groundstrokes.
At 6 ft 4, the Kazakh generates easy power on his serve and from the back of the court, however his inconsistency quickly became a liability.
Murray broke serve for the first time in the fourth game after Bublik served two double faults from game point up.
The Kazakh also has a burning desire to play slice forehand drop shots, even when pinned back behind the baseline.
However, in the early exchanges, it was Murray who found success with a couple of acute drop shots, as well as some great dexterity around the net.
Another break of serve in the sixth game gave Murray a 5-1 lead and in the following game the British number one served out the set to 0.
Bublik played another slack service game in the opening game of the second set, handing Murray an advantage which the Brit held comfortably until serving for the set at 5-4.
Murray moving freely on Centre Court
Murray’s hip concerns didn’t appear to be an issue when he drilled a magnificent crosscourt forehand midway through the second set, however when serving for a two set lead the Brit began to waver.
A fortunate net cord and thunderous return gave Bublik 0-40 on the Murray serve at 4-5, however the number one seed reacted superbly.
With his opponent bubbling, Murray produced his best tennis of the match, saving three break points with purpose and intent before closing out the set.
After breaking Bublik again in the first game of the third set, a brief rain delay halted Murray’s progress, however the Centre Court roof wasn’t required.
When they resumed, Murray was forced to save two break points at 2-1, however Bublik was unable to capitalise.
From there, Murray stepped on the accelerator, dropping just one more game to cap a comprehensive victory.