Greg Rusedski yesterday reminded tennis fans why he used to be one of the most feared players on the tour.
Out on Court Two, commonly referred to as the 'graveyard court', Rusedski breathed life into his seemingly dormant game when he brushed aside Spain's Alberto Martin 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in his first round match.
A Brit, albeit by adoption, was through to the second round. He was not alone.
David Sherwood, a Wimbledon singles debutant who proudly flew the flag for his country in the Davis Cup, produced more heroics on the opening day of Wimbledon to join Rusedski.
The 25-year-old from Sheffield, whose sensational pairing with Andrew Murray secured a priceless win for Great Britain over Israel earlier this year, climbed out of his sick bed to see off dangerous Brazilian Ricardo Mello in straight sets in his firstever singles match at the All England Club.
While the usual disappointments were never far away - Jamie Delgado, Alex Bogdanovic, Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong led a procession of Britons out of the Championships with first round defeats - Rusedski's performance took spectators back ten years to when he first walked onto Centre Court sporting a Union Flag bandana.
Twenty aces flew from the Rusedski racket, one in the second set a smoking 136mph delivery which was reminiscent of the days when he was the most fearsome server in the game.
But there was also a power and a panache about his groundstrokes and a crispness about his volley which suggests a fit, healthy Rusedski, playing well for what seemed the first time in years, could do some damage this week.
Make no mistake, on this form and even allowing for the fact that his opponent Martin is a specialist clay-courter who had lost his last five tour matches, the big guns will want to avoid Britain's unseeded floater.
In his prime it was rare to find Rusedski relegated to Court Two where he lost to Stefan Edberg in his first Wimbledon match - he last played on it against Byron Black six years ago.
"It's the danger court, the one you don't want to be on," he admitted.
"Sampras played his last ever match on Court Two. I remember queuing a few years back and seeing Jimmy Connors playing out there and I think he lost. But I was pleased with today's performance. I was really happy with the way I served in the last two sets."
If Rusedski was walking in the footsteps of fear he did not show it, but then at 31 he appears to be gaining a sense of freedom from his advancing years.
"Time is running out," he admitted. "I didn't think I'd be here over 30 but I'm still enjoying it, still doing the best I can. Tim (Henman) and I are not going to be here longer than five years. We're just trying to make the most of it. I think I've helped Tim because we've had that rivalry in the 1990s which was good for both of us."
A Brit on court means a cauldron of emotions for the home fans. Rusedski served two successive double faults when serving for the first set to hand the Spaniard two break points. He saved both and then pounded down an ace to clinch the set.
Another glitch saw him hand the Spaniard another break point in the fourth game of the second set. This time Rusedski opened his shoulders and crashed down three consecutive aces.
Somehow he went on to lose that set, due to a combination of his own carelessness and the inspired play of the Spaniard who produced a fabulous forehand top-spin lob on set point.
He answered the Spaniard's riposte by breaking Martin's first two service games in the third set and producing the deftest drop shot as he began to play the best tennis of the match.
Martin picked off the Briton with the odd ripping forehand, but Rusedski was always the more consistent, serving another brilliant ace to take the third set and control of the match.
From that point there was only one winner and Rusedski finished off what was a routine slaying when Martin was pressured into pushing yet another wayward groundstroke into the tramlines.
Next up Rusedski faces 6ft 6in Swede Joachim Johansson, the 11th seed.
Sherwood, the British No 8 showed all his Yorkshire grit to beat a player ranked more than 200 places above him in the world, gaining a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Afterwards he revealed that he had lost almost a stone in weight after going down with tonsilitis earlier this month.
"I was pretty bad," he said. "I didn't eat for four days and lost close to a stone.
"There was always a question mark over my fitness but I think three sets today helped. I don't really know if I would have struggled if it had gone to four or five.
"I think today will have helped because I'll be used to playing again and going out there and giving everything."
Sherwood, watched by his parents, Olympic medalists John and Sheila Sherwood. He now plays Feliciano Lopez, the 26th-seeded Spaniard, in the next round on Wednesday.