BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) - Andy Murray got Great Britain's Davis Cup defence off to the best possible start with a straight sets win over Japan's Taro Daniel in Birmingham on Friday.
The world number two put the titleholders 1-0 up in the World Group first round tie with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Daniel, his 87th-ranked opponent in one and a half hours.
The second singles match on Friday is between Japan's world number six Kei Nishikori and Dan Evans, who was only selected to play after Kyle Edmund failed to overcome a back injury.
This was the Scot's first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in last month's Australian Open final, opting instead to spend time with new daughter Sophia, born on February 7, and wife Kim Sears.
"The last few weeks have been the best of my life, it's been really, really special," he told the BBC.
"It's been tough the last few days being away from her (new daughter Sophia) for the first time. It had to happen at some time. It's a pleasure to come and represent my country though."
He added: "The second set was tough, lot of close games... I was getting a little out of breath but I played a good match, served well, missed a few second serves but the first serve went extremely well so it was a nice start."
Murray inspired Britain to their first Davis triumph in 79 years with victory over Belgium in Ghent in November.
If Britain beat Japan they will face either Kazakhstan or world number one Djokovic's Serbia in the next round.