Defending champion Novak Djokovic and six-time winner Roger Federer both recorded straight-set wins as they opened their 2012 Wimbledon accounts.
Top seed Djokovic recovered from a slow start to accelerate past Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3 6-3 6-1 and will next play America's Ryan Harrison.
Federer despatched Albert Ramos 6-1 6-1 6-1 to set up a meeting with Italy's Fabio Fognini.
But 2010 runner-up and number six seed Tomas Berdych is out.
The Czech lost 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) to Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, ranked 87th in the world.
Djokovic admitted to having butterflies as he opened proceedings on Centre Court.
"In the opening games I missed some overheads and I was nervous, it's normal. I haven't played an official match on grass for 12 months," he conceded.
Two weeks ago, Djokovic fell a match short of becoming only the third man to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously when he was beaten by
He opted to take a break after that defeat in Paris rather than play in a grass-court warm-up.
Initially Ferrero offered more baseline resistance than he might have been expected away from his favoured clay, but the Serbian recovered and soon had his measure.
And seven successive games carried him to the brink of victory as the 25-year-old finished the match at a canter.
"Ferrero is never easy to play against on any surface and showed his quality in the first two sets," Djokovic told BBC Sport.
"It was very close but then I played really well in the third, so to win in straight sets against Ferrero is a good result."
After the match Djokovic was in a playful mood when he explained why he swung a golf club on Centre Court.
"It was a little joke we wanted to do with my sponsor. They provided me with a junior golf club because the bags look like golf bags. You can place them the way the golf bag is standing," he revealed.
"So it was a little funny thing. Being creative, that's all. But the fans corrected me right away. They said, 'This is not a golf course'. I said, OK."
Switzerland's Federer took one hour and 19 minutes to beat the Spaniard as he aims to match Pete Sampras' record seven Wimbledon titles, and he even had chance to experiment with serve and volley in the match.
He said: "Maybe Albert Ramos is not the most experienced grass-court player out there, that's for sure, but I was able to take advantage of it and I played a very clean match from start to finish."
Former Wimbledon finallist David Nalbandian, stripped of ranking points after being disqualified from the Aegon Championships final when he injured a line judge, lost in straight sets, 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-2, to eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic.
The Argentine kept his tantrums in check, apart from a brief spat with the umpire over a disputed line call when trying to break back in the second set against the Serb, but in the end he was easily beaten on Court One.
After the match, Nalbandian said his fellow professionals had supported him: "I think everybody understood wasn't a good thing that I did, but was very unlucky, as well."
There potentially could have been a second round rematch between American John Isner and France's Nicolas Mahut, after their record-breaking 70-68 final set two years ago.
But the 11th seed Isner was upset in five sets by Alejandro Falla of Colombia, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5.
It was easier for 2007 semi-finallist, Richard Gasquet, seeded 18th this year. The Frenchman had no trouble against Germany's Tobias Kamke, winning 6-2 6-2 6-2.