Wimbledon made a welcomed return to the tennis calendar on Monday, and the opening day of this year's competition didn't disappoint as the biggest names of the sport began their campaigns for 2015 glory.
The British masses must wait until Tuesday for No. 3 seed Andy Murray to make his first-round bow against Mikhail Kukushkin, but Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori were all involved in Monday's stacked schedule.
In the ladies' competition, favourites Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Lucie Safarova were also part of the Day 1 action, with Wimbledon wasting no time in unleashing the talent on display. Full results and score information can be found on the official Wimbledon website.
Reigning men's champion Djokovic had something of a tricky draw handed to him in the shape of German contender Philipp Kohlschreiber, but the Serbian triumphed 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to get his defence underway in the desired fashion.
Not according to former British No. 1 Tim Henman, however, who was quoted by tennis expert Chris Goldsmith as implying Djokovic was anything but sensational upon making his tournament bow:
A straight-sets win would be seen as more than acceptable to most, and despite making 20 unforced errors, the world No. 1 could be left content with Monday's performance on Centre Court.
Speaking after his opening win, Djokovic seemed happy enough with the victory over Kohlschreiber, per Piers Newbery of BBC Sport:
He can be very tricky on all the surfaces, especially grass, and had nothing to lose but I managed to stay composed. I made the crucial breaks at 5-4 in all three sets, so hopefully it can stay that way for me.
It's great to be back, this is the cradle of our sport. It doesn't get any bigger than Wimbledon so it's an honour to open this year's play on Centre Court as defending champion. This is a tradition and history that is nurtured here, so it really is a special feeling.
At the other end of the spectrum in the men's competition came British wild card Liam Broady, who came back from two sets down against Marinko Matosevic to win 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
In doing so, Broady also became the first Briton to make it into the second round on his Wimbledon debut, leaving sports columnist Steve Brenner in admiration of the comeback:
A wide Matosevic return sealed Broady's triumph, and Court 18 lit up in appreciation of the Brit as his battle against the odds bore great fruit.
Jonathan Jurejko of BBC Sport quoted Stockport's Broady as hailing the audience in particular for their aid in seeing his victory through, stating: "The crowd was fantastic—they made the experience. After the first two sets, I wanted to give the crowd more. I managed to sneak the third set and that was the best feeling of my life. So to win the match was fantastic."
Ladies favourite Williams has the chance to hold all four majors with a Wimbledon triumph this year, and she dispatched Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-1 to set up a second-round encounter with Timea Babos.
Having seemingly not analysed her tournament route in great detail, Williams was surprised to learn she could face off against older sister Venus this year, according to Courtney Nguyen of Sports Illustrated:
Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times was on hand to announce Victoria Azarenka as the first women's winner of the day following her 6-2, 6-1 victory against Anett Kontaveit:
Men's fifth-seed Nishikori was another one to be handed a difficult draw in the first round with Simone Bolelli, particularly unwelcome considering the Japanese contender brought a leg injury to Wimbledon.
Nishikori struggled to a 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win after five sets, with ESPN Tennis noting his favour for tight wins over Bolelli, while Nguyen posted an update on the player's injury:
Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet had far easier opening matchups, clinching straight-sets wins over Joao Sousa and Luke Saville, respectively, to advance to the second round.
Five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova was similarly dominant in her Wimbledon entrance on Monday, downing Britain's Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-2, with presenter Mark Pougatch confirming the Russian has lost none of her on-court volume:
Some home fans were left scratching their heads when British No. 1 Heather Watson was given an evening slot on Court 12, where Caroline Garcia proved a tough rival to overcome.
The Spaniard dictated the first set 6-1 before Watson struck back to claim the second set 6-3, with play suspended until Tuesday due to the dark conditions:
The tightening of competition over the coming fortnight will inevitably lead to the overall quality of play increasing, but the opening day of this year's Wimbledon contest set a solid foundation in entertainment.
Tuesday's schedule will see another slate of stars make their returns to SW19, with Murray, Rafael Nadal, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep among the most highly anticipated on display.