David Goffin made his ATP Masters 1000 debut at the 2012 Miami Open presented by Itau and has since reached five semi-finals and one championship match at the level. The Belgian, who will open his Rolex Paris Masters campaign against Norbert Gombos, spoke to ATPTour.com on Sunday about his favourite Masters 1000 memories, the trophy he would most like to lift and the biggest victory he has earned across the nine elite events.
Which ATP Masters 1000 host city is your favourite and why?
It is not an easy question because the Masters 1000 [events] are always super nice tournaments. If I had to pick one, I would have to say Monte Carlo. It is probably the nicest centre court you can see on Tour with the sea. The sun is coming back in Europe and it is the beginning of the clay season, so it is quite nice after Miami to go back to Europe and start to compete there.
Which Masters 1000 would you most like to win?
I would say Indian Wells because, for me, even if it is in the same category as the other ones, it looks a little bit bigger. With the stadium and the facilities, everything just looks a little bit better. It looks big. For me, it is like a fifth Grand Slam.
Do you remember your Masters 1000 debut, when it was and where?
I won my first round before playing Nicolas Almagro [at 2012 Miami]. I was already very happy to be in the main draw for the first time. I was playing well and that year I won the [Le Gosier] Challenger right after and then I played well at Roland Garros. It gave me a lot of confidence there to qualify and win a match in the main draw. I played a great match. Almagro was better, he was playing so well at that moment, but I always had good memories and played well in Miami.
What do you consider to be your best Masters 1000 win?
In Monte Carlo, the win against Novak Djokovic [in 2017] was a great match and had a great atmosphere on a great centre court. I was playing very well and I made a good result. I lost to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. Everything was there, so it is one of the greatest memories I have there.
What is your favourite off-court memory at a Masters 1000?
I love playing golf and [Indian Wells] is probably the week I play the most. It is a golf paradise there. Sometimes I try to go and play golf when I am not on the court. I have to go quick after my practice sessions. I take the car and I go to the golf course.
What is your dream match at a Masters 1000 (who would you play & at which tournament)?
It is not easy to say, but I would say Novak in the Indian Wells final. It is the best challenge you can have. He won those tournaments so many times, Indian Wells and Miami. I played him in the semi-finals in Miami [in 2016]. It was a very good match. If it were in the final of Indian Wells, it would be even better to have that challenge. Or it would be Rafa in the final of Monte Carlo.
Toughest match you’ve played at a Masters 1000?
When I played Rafa in the Monte Carlo semi-finals it was just too good. I played Andy Murray when he was playing very well in Shanghai [in 2016]. I felt that it was very tough for me. I have never beaten Novak on hard courts at a Masters 1000. Those ones were the toughest I would say.
Greatest match you’ve ever seen at a Masters 1000 event?
Before it was best-of-five sets in the final… The match between Roger Federer and Rafa in Rome [in 2006]. I don’t know how many hours they played, but [there were] match points saved and, at the end, Rafa won. This is one of the most exciting matches I saw.
What’s the toughest part about the Masters 1000 events?
It is the best players in the world. From the first round until the end, you have a tough opponent… You have to be sharp from the start. It is very tough because you have a lot of matches, sometimes six or seven matches in a week. It can be very tough physically, especially when you go to end of the week and it could be Novak, Rafa and Roger from Friday to Sunday. It is very tough and the toughest part is you physically and mentally have to be sharp from the start.