nder the watchful eye of Roger Federer, Andy Murray showed he might just have a few more Wimbledon chapters yet to write.
In only his second all-British encounter in 15 years at SW19, he eased past Ryan Peniston 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 and into the second round.
The last time he faced a Brit at Wimbledon, he went on to win the title. That seems too fanciful with a metal hip and years spent trying to claw his way back to the top of a sport he briefly dominated.
Federer was virtually the first member of the Royal Box in his seat to watch his friend and former foe on a court where he had beaten Murray in the 2012 Wimbledon final and where Murray gained revenge a few weeks later for Olympic gold.
And he will have been impressed with what he saw, Murray increasingly aggressive and error free as the match wore on.
Afterwards, Murray said: “It was amazing to have some royalty here but also some tennis royalty as well. It’s amazing to have Roger here supporting this event.
“I started off the match quite nervous at the beginning. Once I got the break in the first set I think I played some good stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt physically this good coming into Wimbledon. I’m hoping I’m fit and ready for a good run.”
Passage into the second round had always looked a safe bet when he was drawn against a player outside the world’s top 250.
As the rain hammered down at Wimbledon at the start of the match – negating play on all but Centre and No1 Court – Murray was surprisingly the first player under pressure.
Peniston had break points at 1-1 and 2-2 in the opening set but, rather than employ the same attacking approach that got him to that point, he was too tentative and the chances went begging.
The great players are able to turn it on in the key moments and Murray did just that when he had his own opportunities to break at 3-2. He fluffed the first but got a second courtesy of a Peniston overhead into the base of the net. As he broke, he let out a shout of “let’s go”.
And from there he merely upped the tempo. Instead of taking the chance to reset, Peniston looked like his resolve had been broken in the second set. He was broken immediately and in fact never held his serve all set.
While it was partially down to the standard of his tennis slipping, it was in the most part because of Murray’s increased aggression.
Peniston briefly stopped a run of eight consecutive games to hold serve at 2-1 in the third and final set but it only briefly curtailed the onslaught in a match in which he didn’t win another game.
Although there’s still a long way to go, the early signs are positive Murray, helped too by his next opponent – either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Dominic Thiem having a day less to recover after the rain curtailed their match during the second set.