Andy Murray enjoyed a winning return to competitive action as he and Feliciano Lopez sank top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah at Queen’s Club.
Former world number one and three-time grand slam winner Murray is making his tentative comeback from what he hopes was career-saving hip surgery in the doubles at the Fever-Tree Championships.
And a bumper Centre Court crowd was treated to some vintage Murray as the five-time Queen’s singles champion and his Spanish partner ran out 7-6 (5) 6-3 winners.
After all the tearful goodbyes in January, it was if Murray had never been away, and the Colombian duo did not know what had hit them.
Clearly they are a slick doubles partnership, but they could never have imagined facing a duo like three-time grand slam winner Murray and Lopez, himself a singles winner at Queen’s, in the first round.
It had only been 143 days since Murray, fearing being forced into retirement, underwent the hip resurfacing surgery.
He and Lopez had never played together, and had barely trained together. Moreover, Murray had not swung a racket in anger in five months.
The fact that Lopez had been compelled to issue a fierce denial of links to allegations of match-fixing in Spain a day earlier was not ideal preparation either.
But somehow they clicked and at the end of a first set that went with serve, a ferocious Murray forehand clipped the net tape on its way past Cabal and clinched the tie-break.
This was no Wimbledon singles epic, but it was no exhibition either. Murray wanted to win and the familiar fist pump was on display following a succession of winners in the second set.
Now pain-free, Murray was moving fine, serving well and volleying like a doubles specialist.
Victory was wrapped up in an hour and 14 minutes, and afterwards Murray told the BBC: “It was brilliant, I enjoyed it a lot.
“I was a bit slow at the beginning but got better as the match went along.
“I’m really fortunate to be playing tennis again. I absolutely love playing on this court, it’s a brilliant place to play.
“I felt quite relaxed in the build-up, but we said as we were walking onto the court that we were starting to feel a bit nervous. But you need those butterflies.”