Roger Federer feared the worst before coming through the most testing of Wimbledon openers against Colombia's Alejandro Falla on Centre Court.
The world number 60 took the opening two sets and then had three break points to put himself in position to serve for the match. Federer, however, dug deep to win the third set but Falla was not finished and the defending champion was within a game of defeat in the fourth set before finally coming through 5-7 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7/1) 6-0.
"There was definitely a bit of luck involved there. It's normal with the chances he had, the way I came out of this match. I definitely got lucky. But that's how it goes sometimes," said Federer.
The top seed pinpointed the ninth game of the third set, when he was down 0-40, as the moment when he felt the defence of his title was about to end at the first hurdle.
"That was the moment I felt was the toughest because if I wouldn't have come out of that game, I don't think I would have broken the next one," he added.
"My whole game was sort of in disarray. I was just hoping that I could get three quick serves to come back. But I had to come up with some passing shots, some scrambling shots."
Despite his struggles against an opponent who had never previously taken a set off him, Federer feels coming through such a close match could bode well for the rest of the tournament.
He continued: "I've lost a few matches this season with match points. This is definitely the kind of match I needed. You can't win them all when they're that close, because they're being played on a couple of points here or there.
"One thing you can do is push the luck on your side. That's not something I have been doing maybe enough the last few months. I'm happy today I gave myself a chance."