Andy Murray is back, and looked as though he hadn’t been away as he and doubles partner Feliciano Lopez downed top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in the first round at Queen’s.
Returning to the court for the first time since his Australian Open exit in January and subsequent hip resurfacing surgery, the double Olympic gold medallist formed a deadly partnership with his old friend Lopez.
And while he delighted the crowd with an array of trademark shots, the 32-year-old admitted that it took him a little time to gauge the pace of things out on the grass.
“it was brilliant, I enjoyed it a lot,” he said afterwards.
“I was a little bit slow at the beginning, but I got better as the match went on. I really enjoyed it; I’m very fortunate to be back playing tennis again.
“I absolutely love playing on this court. It’s a brilliant place to play tennis. I felt quite relaxed today in the build-up to it, but we both said to each other as we were walking to the court that we were starting to feel a little bit nervous.
“That maybe showed at the beginning, but that’s what you want when you’re playing tennis: you want the nerves, the butterflies in the stomach and I had that today.”
In spite of his comments, Murray seemed sharp from the off, his first intervention in the match – a smart volleyed winner – drawing rapturous applause from the stands.
The first set played out on serve and it took a gritty tie-break, with several fortuitous moments, to hand Murray and Lopez the initiative.
And in what was a fiercely fought contest it took until the middle of the second before the crowd saw a break, and it fell to the home favourite.
Just needing to serve out for the win, then, the duo hardly broke sweat, Lopez delivering the final game to ensure it was a winning return to action for Murray.
Elsewhere, Andy’s brother Jamie made it through to the second round of doubles action alongside compatriot and partner Neal Skupski after beating Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 10-7, with a quarter-final match-up against John Peers and Henri Kontinen their reward.
But British No.1 Kyle Edmund bowed out of the men’s singles in London, losing to top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 7-5.