Andy Murray admitted he had enjoyed being back in familiar territory as the world number two helped Great Britain off to a strong start on day one of their Davis Cup tie against Japan.
Murray has not played a competitive match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final 33 days ago – a break that also coincided with the birth of his daughter Sophia.
And while 25 unforced errors and a handful of double faults dented his statistics slightly, it was still a solid match for Murray who saw off world number 87 Tara Daniel 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to put reigning champions Great Britain 1-0 up.
World number six Kei Nishikori levelled the match with a straight sets win over Dan Evans ahead of Saturday’s doubles rubber.
Victory in the best-of-five first-round tie will secure a quarter-final place and World Group status in 2017.
And Murray, who could yet swap in for Dom Inglot to play alongside his brother Jamie tomorrow, admitted he was satisfied with his return to competitive action.
“The last few weeks have been the best of my life, really special," Murray said of becoming a father to Sophia.
"It has been tough the last few days being away from her for the first time but it had to happen to some stage, and it is a pleasure to represent my country and be with team-mates that we won with last year.
"The second set was tough - a lot of close games and some tough points, which was good for me.
"I was getting a little out of breath but I played a good match, served well, missed a few second serves but the first serve went extremely well, so it was a nice start."
After Murray triumphed on court, attention turned to Evans who had beaten his Japanese opponent in their only previous meeting at the US Open over three years ago.
But Nishikori proved too much for his lower ranked opponent and eventually wrapped up the match in two hours and 44 minutes.
"I think what Kei did, hats off to Dan, he played a brilliant match,” said GB Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.
"Kei is one of the best players in the world, he is so quick but yet again we are able to see Dan play well above his ranking. He had opportunity in the sets there wasn’t that much in it.
“It was important we have this home tie and I thought you guys (the crowd) were absolutely brilliant.
"It is such an important tie the format is such that you can be champions and then you can be in a relegation match, there is a lot riding on this, so we go into another Saturday when doubles rubber is very important.”