Wimbledon 2017: Murray positive after winning opener against Alexander Bublik
Andy Murray came through the first test of his dodgy right hip with flying colours to reach the second round of Wimbledon.
The build-up to the defence of Murray's title has been dominated by concerns over his form and fitness after he was forced to miss two days of training.
But the Murray who lost so woefully to Jordan Thompson in the opening round at Queen's Club two weeks ago was nowhere to be seen against lucky loser Alexander Bublik.
The Scot continued to limp between points, as he had since resuming practice on Friday, but when it mattered his movement was just one of the things he did well in a 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory.
All that held up Murray were two brief rain delays, but he did not allow his momentum to be disrupted and eased to victory in an hour and 44 minutes, setting up a second-round clash with another unorthodox player in German-Jamaican Dustin Brown.
Murray said: "I was a bit nervous this morning. I hadn't been able to do as much as I would have liked in the build-up, didn't know the guy I was playing.
"Obviously, first match at a slam, there's always a few extra nerves. Once I got out there and got the early break, saved a few break points in my first service game, I felt good.
"I moved well. So for a first match, considering how I was feeling five, six days ago, it was really positive. "
It must be a little off-putting for opponents to see Murray limping one minute and then sprinting around the court the next - but the world number one insisted he is not even aware he is walking any differently.
He said: "I don't know if that's something that's come over the last couple of weeks when my hip's been sore or I've always done it, and everyone is saying that I'm walking that way because of my hip.
"I'm not in a lot of pain when I'm walking, that's for sure."
Murray is still in some pain but said on Sunday he anticipated being able to get through seven matches without issue, should he reach the final again, and was very pleased how the hip felt in match one.
He said: "It's a little bit sore, but I was moving really good on the court today. That's the most important thing. Hopefully it feels good again tomorrow."
With pregnant wife Kim and the Duchess of Cambridge among the spectators, Murray was welcomed onto Centre Court with a roar as he fulfilled the defending champion's duty of opening the tournament.
Bublik, a 20-year-old rap fan from St Petersburg with plenty of swagger, walked on court wearing large white headphones and immediately showed he was not overawed by the occasion.
Murray has struggled for form during a season disrupted at regular intervals by illness and injury.
But nothing brings out the best in the 30-year-old like the lawns of the All England Club and his relaxed attitude in practice despite the discomfort hinted that he was feeling good about his game again.
Murray's service speed was down but his forehand, so wayward at times this season, was sharp and secure and his backhand equally strong.
Bublik, a Russian-turned-Kazakh, is renowned for his trick shots and threw in plenty of drop shots as well as one tweener and a diving volley.
But Murray is a master of variety himself and Bublik did not show anything like the consistency needed to provide a real challenge.
The only real moments of concern for Murray came in the opening game when he trailed 15-40 and at the end of the second set, when Bublik had three chances to get back on serve.
But the Scot saved all three and then finished a rally Bublik had been in total control of with a forehand pass whipped past his stricken opponent.
Bublik could only shake his head and applaud, and he was broken again in the opening game of the third set before two brief rain delays.
Opponents would usually keep their distance from each other in the locker room but Bublik engaged Murray in a chat.
Bublik interviewed Murray at Indian Wells in March for the ATP website, asking the Scot for his advice, which included, 'Don't hit 20 double faults in a match.'
"He said, 'Yeah, thanks for the advice about not serving 20 double faults'," said Murray.
"I said, 'You served a few'. He said, 'Yeah, I think I'm only on about 10 right now'. I said, 'Well, there's still time to get to 20'.
"It was just funny. It's rare that you speak to someone during a match. I just asked him how he liked Centre Court."
Bublik may well have approached 20 double faults had Murray not finished off the match so swiftly, leaving the world number 135 on a final tally of 12.