Roger Federer will today reap the reward for breaking Bjorn Borg's record of 41 consecutive wins on grass with a monumental second-round clash against Tim Henman.
In ruthlessly dispatching Richard Gasquet in straight sets, the reigning Wimbledon champion won his 42nd consecutive match on the surface, a streak that includes three titles here and four in Halle, thus setting up the mouth-watering prospect of taking on this country's most successful player of the open era.
While Federer might be cursing his luck at drawing one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the competition, Henman will be in the unusual position of going into a match at his home Grand Slam without any pressure. That will make him a dangerous opponent.
But to benefit from that liberating effect, Henman will have to produce a better display than the one he came up with against Robin Soderling.
While Federer started his defence with the loss of just seven games, Henman was taken the distance by a willing but limited Swedish opponent and only prevailed after more than three hours.
Fellow Briton Andy Murray, by contrast, gave a dazzling performance in negotiating a tricky first round match with Olympic champion Nicolas Massu.
The Scotsman won the first five games and ran the No 31 seed ragged to win 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 with a combination of audacious drop shots and deft passes from both wings.
The Chilean, uncomfortable on the lawns of the All England Club, clearly mistook aggression for recklessness and, in many ways, was his own worst enemy.
As Murray did all he could to keep him off his brutal forehand, every time Massu got an opportunity he snatched at it and produced as many unforced errors as outright winners.
Murray's victory was not the most surprising home success of the day though; that honour went to Richard Bloomfield - the country's No 7 and world no 259.
The 23-year-old dropped just five games in dispatching Argentina Carlos Berlocq and will face Tommy Haas in round two.
Jamie Delgado also came through his opening match with Michael Berrer despite wasting a two-set lead. Solihull-born Delgado won the decider 6-3 to potentially book an appointment with Sebastien Grosjean.
However, Greg Rusedski's challenge is over after going out 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to former world No 1 Marat Safin and Alex Bogdanovic also failed to take a set off No 2 seed Rafael Nadal.
Things went according to plan in the ladies' singles with Belgian duo Justine Henin Hardenne and Kim Clijsters both coming through their opening matches in straight sets.
Henin-Hardenne, the reigning French Open champion, was in brutal form against Meng Yuan, allowing her opponent just one game in a 6-0, 6-1 thrashing.
She was on court less than an hour against the world No 95 from China and looked every inch a serious challenger for this year's title as did her compatriot, who subdued the challenge of dfs Classic winner Vera Zvonareva without too much fuss.
Zvonareva initially held up Clijsters and broke the No 2 seed as she served for the first set but then the Russian failed to capitalise by losing her own serve in the following game.
Clijsters closed out 7-5 and then took the opening three games of the second set which she went on to dominate 6-3.
Locked at Nos 2 and 3 in the world, the rivals are scheduled to meet in the semi-finals but, before that, Clijsters must face Viktoria Kutusova while Henin-Hardenne meets Aiko Nakamura of Japan.
The returning Martina Hingis also made short work of her first-round opponent as she built on her over night first-set lead of 6-2 against Olga Savchuk by taking the second by the same score.
The Swiss, champion here in 1997, is making her first appearance at the All England Club since going out at the first hurdle in 2001 and she now meets Tathiana Garbin in the next round.
Garbin came from one set down to defeat national No 3 Katie O'Brien in a tense encounter on Court Six. The 20-year-old's loss was just one of three for British women.
O'Brien looked more than a match for her opponent and claimed the first set 6-2, taking the Italian's serve four times. But that was as good as it got for the world No 235 who lost a second-set tiebreak and crumbled in the decider, losing 6-2.
At least she claimed a set, which was more than Naomi Cavaday and Anne Keothavong could do.
Cavaday, who qualified through the wild-card playoffs, resumed her match with Ai Sugiyama with the Japanese needing to hold serve to take a one-set lead. She did and went on to take the second 7-5. Keothavong, the British No 1, gave yet another poor performance on grass, capitulating to Karolina Sprem 6-0, 6-2.