Champion Nadal strolls past plucky Russell
Rafael Nadal looked every inch a champion as he kicked off the defence of his Wimbledon title in style.
Unbeaten at the All England Club since 2007 but denied the chance to defend his 2008 title due to injury, Nadal shrugged off a slow start to power into the second round with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Michael Russell.
It was a tentative start from the world No. 1 as he opened proceedings on Centre Court, moving feelingly on the flawless green surface.
A double fault in the sixth game gifted Russell the break as the American took a shock lead in the opening set. But normal service resumed as Nadal broke back immediately, courtesy of a glorious running forehand down the line.
And this time it was Russell's turn to gift Nadal the break; two double faults followed by a wild forehand which fizzed beyond the baseline.
After a nervous few moments, it was ultimately an easy hold as the Spaniard wrapped up the set before carrying his momentum into the second, snatching an early break to set him well on course for victory.
Despite a spectacular double dive from Russell, the double break swiftly followed as the Spaniard tightened his stranglehold on the match. The world No. 90 battled valiantly, but it merely delayed the inevitable as Nadal strolled towards victory and a place in the second round.
Milos Raonic could be a potential third-round opponent for Nadal, and the big-serving Canadian looked to be in ominous form as he eased into the second round with a straight-sets win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel. Raonic, seeded No. 31 at the All England Club, has an explosive game well-suited to the grass, and could be a dangerous opponent for Nadal, should he make it past second-round opponent Gilles Muller.
American No. 1 Mardy Fish emerged victorious in his first-round match against Marcel Granollers. Despite hitting twice as many winners and 26 aces to his opponent's two, Fish had to battle his way to a 7-6(3) 7-6(5) 6-4 win.
Spain's Feliciano Lopez moved into the second round with a 6-4 7-5 6-3 victory over Michael Berrer, where he will meet another German, after Rainer Schuettler beat Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets.