Defending champion Roger Federer breathed a sigh of relief after winning his first round match at Wimbledon today.
Federer beat France's Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in sweltering conditions on Centre Court to make a successful start in his bid for a third straight title.
The top seed and world No 1 was never in any danger against the talented but inconsistent Mathieu, but was delighted to extend his winning streak on grass to 30 matches.
"I definitely feel relieved," said the 23-year-old Swiss, aiming to become the eighth man in Wimbledon history to win a hat-trick of titles.
"You're into the tournament, you've seen the fans, you don't have to leave right away so that's nice!
"There's always something special when you come back and try to defend the Wimbledon championship."
Federer broke Mathieu's serve in the opening game of the match and served those four aces to take a 2-0 lead, but was surprisingly broken straight back as Mathieu demonstrated his obvious talent.
But the Frenchman can be infuriatingly inconsistent and promptly lost his serve again and from then on never threatened to cause an upset.
Federer added: "When I warmed up on the outside courts everybody came into the grounds and were wishing me good luck. It was a lot of fun and I was really surprised how they cheered for me. I guess in England they are very friendly and nice and I definitely enjoyed that."
Federer will now play Czech Ivo Minar in the second round, a player he beat earlier this season in Dubai on the way to one of his seven tournament victories on three different surfaces.
He has only lost three matches this year, and five since winning the Wimbledon title for a second time, and felt his serve was back on track after his defeat to eventual winner Rafael Nadal in the French Open semi-finals.
Now that the last of the twinges appear to have gone, Lleyton Hewitt is aiming to reprise the serve that won him the title three years ago.
After delivering 19 aces to blitz Belgium's Christophe Rochus out of Wimbledon in straight sets, the Australian said: "I've never practised as hard as in the last few weeks. It is an area we have been working on.
"I know I am a good enough returner already to ensure enough opportunities to break if I can clean up my service and I've got more variety now.
"Those two weeks I won the tournament here I served extremely well - the best I've ever served but on the grass, it means so much, especially when it is as slow as now."
Hewitt, 25, served a handful of double-faults but came up with a 125mph cracker when he needed it out on Court One.
Rochus, the older of two brothers on the circuit, was always on the back foot.
Hewitt, soon to become a father after splitting with Belgian star Kim Clijsters and taking up with an Australian soap star, zipped off three consecutive aces in the opening game and added steadily to them as well as coming up with a succession of passes and neat touches.
After the 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 destruction in just 92 minutes he said: "I'm happy with where I am at the moment."
Marat Safin stormed into the second round with his confidence soaring, 12 months after vowing he would never play Wimbledon again.
The No 5 seed produced a powerful and precise display to beat experienced Thai Paradorn Srichaphan 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. And afterwards Safin was unrecognisable from the player who slunk out of the tournament at the first round stage last year, cursing the surface upon which he had had so little success.
Safin said: "I need to hold these feelings for as long as I can because it looks like I have found my game.
"I have found the confidence that I was missing for the past six months."