David Goffin is no stranger to Monte-Carlo. The Belgian, who lives in the Principality, has made seven previous appearances at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and regularly trains at the tournament site.
While the 2017 semi-finalist may feel comfortable in his surroundings when he steps onto Court Rainier III on Sunday, he will face an uncomfortable first-round opponent, Marin Cilic, in one of the picks of the first-round matches.
“I am happy every year to play this tournament. It is the site [where] I am practising the whole year, so I am feeling really comfortable to play here,” said Goffin. “I have played some great matches here in Monte-Carlo during this tournament, so I have great memories. Hopefully this year will be another year with some good matches [and] a good level of tennis.”
Goffin and Cilic are tied at 4-4 in their ATP Head2Head series, and Cilic owns a 2-1 advantage on clay. At last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the former World No. 3 charged past Goffin 6-2, 6-2 in just 70 minutes. The Belgian, who captured his fifth ATP Tour crown at the Open Sud de France in February, will aim to recapture his best form in Monte-Carlo after early losses at his two most recent events in Dubai and Miami.
“[Cilic] is a tough opponent. He is not super confident, I would say, at the moment. But he is still an amazing player,” said Goffin. “The way he is playing, the way he can hit the ball sometimes is amazing. [He is] serving really well and he can play well on clay. He beat me last year in Rome, but it is another year and another tournament. Hopefully I can play a better match and try to win this one.”
Following Goffin and Cilic’s ninth ATP Head2Head meeting will be a clash between Jordan Thompson and Benoit Paire. Thompson will enter his encounter against Paire with a 1-0 ATP Head2Head record. The Aussie rallied from a set down to outlast Paire 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-4 on clay in Lyon four years ago.
The Day One schedule also features four first-round doubles matches and the final round of the qualifying draw. Two-time ATP Masters 1000 doubles finalists Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev will meet Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin on Court Des Princes.
Fabio Fognini, the 2019 singles champion, will return to Court Rainier III alongside doubles partner Diego Schwartzman. The Italian-Argentine tandem will battle Oliver Marach and Luke Saville for a spot in the second round.
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2019
COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
Qualifying – B. Tomic (AUS) vs  S. Caruso (ITA)
 D. Goffin (BEL) vs M. Cilic (CRO)
J. Thompson (AUS) vs B. Paire (FRA)
F. Fognini (ITA)/D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs O. Marach (AUT) vs L. Saville (AUS)
COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
Qualifying – D. Koepfer (GER) vs J. Londero (ARG)
Qualifying – H. Laaksonen (SUI) vs M. Cecchinato (ITA)
J. Chardy (FRA)/F .Martin (FRA) vs K. Khachanov (RUS)/A. Rublev (RUS)
COURT 2 start 11:00 am
Qualifying – S. Travaglia (ITA) vs K. Majchrzak (POL)
Not before 13:00
Qualifying – Y. Hanfmann (GER) vs A. Popyrin (AUS)
C. Garin (CHI)/G. Pella (ARG) vs J. Murray (GBR)/J. Struff (GER)
COURT 9 start 11:00 am
Qualifying – P. Martinez (ESP) vs F. Delbonis (ARG)
Not before 13:00
Qualifying – J. Sousa (POR) vs [ALT] T. Fabianno (ITA)
H. Kontinen (FIN)/E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [ALT] A. Bublik (KAZ)/D. Lajovic (SRB)