Novak Djokovic relished the opportunity to walk out on Centre Court as Wimbledon champion for the first time as he began his title defence with a comfortable victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero.
The world number one, who beat Rafael Nadal in the final 12 months ago, looked a little edgy early on and even gave away the first break of serve, but he was quickly into his stride after that and eased to a 6-3 6-3 6-1 success.
"It's a very unique feeling," said Djokovic after opening proceedings on the first day of the tournament. "I think it's the first time I experienced that in my career.
"I think this is the only tournament that actually allows you to have information 12 months in advance when you're playing. The grass was untouched. It was so soft, so smooth. It was great to play on."
Ferrero is a former world number one himself and French Open champion but he is 32 now and has struggled with injuries over the past three years.
The Spaniard does have a good record at Wimbledon, reaching the quarter-finals twice, most recently when he lost to Andy Murray in 2009, but he could not consistently trouble the world number one.
There were gasps from the crowd when Djokovic lost his serve in only the third game but he broke back immediately and from there the 25-year-old relaxed and began to look at ease on the grass.
His movement improved throughout the match and the only positive for Ferrero in a one-sided third set was that he managed to avoid a 'bagel'.
The pair had met twice before but not for a long time, with Ferrero winning their first clash in Croatia in 2005 before Djokovic took victory in Madrid two years later.
"I had to look up the head-to-head score because I didn't know how many times we had played," Djokovic said. "We haven't played for five years. That's a long period.
"He's a former number one of the world. That says enough about his qualities. Obviously he prefers more slower hardcourts and claycourts, but he's been in the quarter-finals here a couple of years ago. So he understands what he needs to do.
"The grass is not like it used to be when it was more suited to serve-and-volley players. Now it's more about baseline players, which made him more dangerous for me in this match. The first two sets were exciting and close. I was very satisfied with my performance."
Djokovic next faces 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison, who beat Yen-hsun Lu, of Chinese Taipei, today.
Ferrero read little into Djokovic's wobbly start and was thrilled to share the champion's limelight, even though it meant an early exit.
The Spaniard said: "I think at the beginning of matches it can happen like this because you are not in the rhythm of the match and at the start of the tournament. Today I took the break very early, but he broke me again very fast.
"It's very special to have the honour to step on the court in the first match and see how the court is, very clean, all green."