Andy Murray put on a Centre Court show for the Princess of Wales and old foe Roger Federer.
The two-time champion took apart countryman Ryan Peniston with a 6-3 6-0 6-1 victory under the roof to ease into the second round of Wimbledon for the 15th consecutive time.
Federer, whose career had been celebrated with a short video prior to the start of play, and Kate made sure they were back in their seats in the front row of the Royal Box in time for the first shot of the all-British clash.
It is 11 years since a tearful Murray was beaten by the great Swiss in his first Wimbledon final, and he sincerely believes that his days of challenging for the title here are not over.
He missed the French Open to focus on his grass-court preparations, winning back-to-back Challenger Tour titles in Surbiton and Nottingham, and was rewarded with his first straight-sets win at Wimbledon since 2017 and his most convincing victory here in nine years.
By starting a 15th campaign, he matched the open era record for a British man set by Jeremy Bates, and he would have taken confidence from knowing that in nearly 1,000 tour-level matches he had never lost to a player ranked as low as Peniston’s 268.
The 27-year-old from Essex, who survived cancer as a toddler, had a breakthrough year in 2022, particularly on the grass, and won his first-round match at Wimbledon.
He settled well on his Centre Court debut and was the better of the two for much of the first set but he was unable to take either of two early chances to break the Murray serve and paid for one loose game.
By the second set, the Scot, who went on to win the title after his only previous match against another British player here when he beat Liam Broady in 2016, was playing much better.
Peniston was still competing hard and pulling off some crowd-pleasing shots but Murray had cut out the unforced errors – 15 of his total of 24 came in the opening set – and was not giving his opponent anything.
By the time Peniston won another game, he had lost nine in a row and was 2-0 down in the third set.
Much more difficult tests will await, including the winner of the clash between fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem in the second round, but the crispness with which Murray struck the ball off the ground certainly appears to bode well.
And Murray was very pleased with his performance, saying: “Obviously it’s amazing to be back here playing on Centre Court. I was quite nervous, coming out I wanted to play well.
“I started a little bit tentative but once I got the break I thought I played some good stuff as the match went on. There’s some good signs there.”
Asked if it was the best he has felt coming into Wimbledon since winning his second title in 2016, Murray said: “Probably. Its been a long time since I’ve felt physically this good coming into Wimbledon, which is really positive. The last years have been very challenging so I’m hoping I’m fit for a good run.”
Federer gave Murray’s performance a “very good”, and the Scot added: “It was amazing to have some royalty here but also some tennis royalty.
“Amazing to have Roger here supporting the event. The last time I was on this court and he was watching was during the Olympics and he sat in Stan Wawrinka’s box against me. I hope you’re doing well Roger and Mirka.”