Andy Murray was delighted to return to Grand Slam action with a win, although acknowledged theres plenty of room for improvement.
The three-time major winner hadnt competed in a best-of-five sets match in nearly 14 months after battling a long-term hip issue and required four sets to defeat Australias James Duckworth.
Still just eight matches into his comeback, Murray accepts he is some way off his best tennis – though he was pleased with how he approached the 6-7 6-3 7-5 6-3 win tactically.
I hit the ball a lot better than I did in Cincinnati, he said after the match. You know, there was at points in the match, like, I didnt play amazing. Im not expecting to play my best tennis right now.
But just in terms of the way I was hitting the ball and constructing some of the points, I felt like, as the match went on, I started to dictate more, was getting myself a bit closer to the baseline.
I think tactically, I did well and made some adjustments on the return from the first set, which is a really positive thing.
I think when you havent played loads, it can be easy to just get wrapped up in how youre actually hitting the ball rather than thinking about the strategy and what youre trying to do out there.
So I made some adjustments on the return game, and that helped me a lot. I created a lot of chances on return.
Despite getting off to a winning start, little has changed in terms of his expectations for the fortnight.
What would it require [to believe I can win the tournament]? I would have been able to train and practice a lot more than what I have done, he added.
I would have played more matches in the buildup to the tournament. I mean, theres many, many things that I would have wanted to change to be considered a contender.
I dont think anything changes after today. I think Im still just taking it one match at a time.
Yeah, I mean, this is the first time I have played four sets in 14 months, so, you know, I just have to wait and see how I pull up tomorrow. Hopefully I feel good, and take it from there.
Up next for the Scot is a familiar foe.
Murray has met Fernando Verdasco on 14 previous occasions, winning 13 of those. And hes expecting a tough test against the 34-year-old Spaniard.
They are quite different players, really. Verdasco doesnt use as sort of much variety, he said. Duckworth is coming into the net quite a lot and hits, especially his backhand, you know, pretty flat, uses quite a lot of slice and stuff.
Obviously, Fernando has an extremely heavy forehand, plays with a lot of spin. On the serve, kind of difficult sometimes to know what hes going to do. I have played him some times where hes been going for huge serves.
And then I also played in one, he served he served like 80% first serve and kind of rolled the serve in. Duckworth tends to serve quite a low percentage and go for his serve.
So theyre pretty different players. Yeah, Fernando is a great shot-maker and someone that when hes on his game, really tough to beat. Yeah, when hes dictating, as well, you cant allow him to dictate too much.