Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray made it an opening day to remember for the British fans on Centre Court.
The two biggest home stars were given top billing as play got under way at Wimbledon and responded with crowd-pleasing victories.
Both have struggled with injury in the build-up, Raducanu with a side strain and Murray an abdominal problem, but the greater doubt surrounded the former, who made her debut on Wimbledon’s main stage.
The US Open champion faced tricky Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck but relished the occasion and maintained her record of not having lost in the first round of a grand slam with a 6-4 6-4 victory.
Raducanu came into her post-match press conference wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Rafael Nadal’s bull horns logo and is taking inspiration from the Spaniard’s heroics this season.
“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” said the 19-year-old, who next plays France’s Caroline Garcia.
“That’s what I’m bringing in. I think that I have had a tough year, it’s no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.
First Centre Court appearance. First Centre Court win.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 27, 2022
“I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”
Murray made a slow start against Australian James Duckworth, losing the opening set, but recovered well, even throwing in an underarm serve in the third set of a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory that finished under the roof.
The two-time champion had been showing strong form before his injury, and he said: “It was amazing to be back out here again with a full crowd. Amazing atmosphere.
“I’m getting on a bit now. I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll get to play on this court so I want to make the most of it. I did well to rebound after the first set. I felt a bit more comfortable as the match went on and I did well to come through.”
British number one Cameron Norrie was overshadowed by his more high-profile compatriots and shunted out to Court Two, where he overcame two rain breaks and Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar.
Norrie had seen three match points come and go when the heavens opened for a second time but needed just four minutes on the resumption to complete a 6-0 7-6 (3) 6-3 victory.
The ninth seed said: “I wasn’t too aware of it until someone shouted, ‘Come on, Cam, get it done before the rain’. Obviously I was trying to get it done. Then I looked over, there was a huge grey cloud.
“After that I think I had one more match point. It would be nice to get it done earlier, but it is what it is. It’s tough. You’re there waiting another hour, you’re on edge. You know just had chances to finish the match. It was nice to get it done in straight sets, for sure.”
This is how you wrap up a @Wimbledon win! 👏
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 27, 2022
Debutante Yuriko Miyazaki, who has lived in Britain since the age of 10 but only switched to representing this country from her native Japan in March, fell just short of setting up a second-round clash against Raducanu.
The 26-year-old was twice two points away from victory against Garcia but was unable to win the deciding tie-break, going down 4-6 6-1 7-6 (4).
Jodie Burrage was also beaten, losing 6-2 6-3 to Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, while Jay Clarke was two sets down to Christian Harrison when play was suspended for the night.
Heather Watson’s match against Tamara Korpatsch was moved under the roof on Court One but was still unable to be finished because of the 11pm curfew. Watson will resume at one-set all after battling back to force a decider.