Former world number one Andy Murray made a victorious return after what he described as “life-changing” hip surgery at a raucous Queen’s on Thursday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion partnered Spain’s Feliciano Lopez to a 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 victory in his first competitive match in five months.
Playing on a packed centre court including his wife Kim, Murray showed little fear in stretching himself despite being off the circuit since January.
His friend Lopez did not show any sign either of being burdened by the allegations made against him of match-fixing in the Spanish media, which he strongly denied on Wednesday.
“It was brilliant, I enjoyed it a lot,” Murray told the BBC.
“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 (he won the singles title five times), it’s a brilliant place to play.
“I felt quite relaxed in the build-up, but we said as we were walking on to the court that we were starting to feel a bit nervous. But you need those butterflies.”
Murray sealed the first-set tie-break against top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah with an imperious forehand which clipped the net and provoked the Scotsman to raise his hand apologetically.
The 32-year-old Scot was all action at the net, securing the first game on their serve in the second set with a brilliant volley which their opponents just got back, but left Murray to put the ball into an empty court.
The number of slapping of hands and fist pumping increased between Lopez and Murray as they took hold of the match and the two-time Olympic champion visibly relaxed as he found his rhythm.
He was all over the court, his confidence surging to the extent that he put them 3-2 up on serve with a stunning one-handed backhand winner.
Two magnificent aces followed to put them within a game of victory -- and not even a warning for a time violation for taking too long over a discussion could dull their joy.
They had little trouble in closing out the match with Lopez serving brilliantly, and at the end the pair hugged each other as fans in the crowd brandished the Union Jack in celebration.