Things could get much tougher quickly, with a potential second-round meeting against wild-card entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who he beat in the 2008 Australian final, and with Denis Shapovalov in the same section.
Six-time Melbourne Park champion Federer, seeded No.3 for his quest for a hat-trick of Australian Open crowns and a record seventh AO titles in all, opens his 2019 campaign against world No. 99 Denis Istomin, while fellow six-time Melbourne victor and men's top seed Novak Djokovic plays a qualifier in the first round.
Aiming for a 21st Grand Slam trophy and a 100th career singles title, Federer will open against Denis Istomin.
Cilic has Andy Murray, who is coming back from a long-term hip injury, in his section.
"I always have tried to remind myself that this is a dream", Federer said of his longevity at the draw ceremony held at Margaret Court Arena, where he discovered the world number 99 would be his opening opponent.
Djokovic, who like Federer is bidding for a record seventh title in Melbourne, will play a qualifier in round one.More news: Serena Williams takes on Roger Federer in legendary mixed doubles clash
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One of the standout matchups of the first round sees unseeded Nick Kyrgios' meet 2016 semifinalist and 16th seed Milos Raonic, with the victor of that contest going through to face either 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka or Ernests Gulbis.
Andy Murray has offered a fan a ticket to his Australian Open first-round clash with Roberto Bautista Agut.
All the active grand slam winners in the men's game are over 30 and one of the most intriguing storylines will be whether the new generation can finally break the stranglehold.
British number two Heather Watson takes on 31st seed Petra Martic from Croatia while Katie Boulter, playing in her first slam main draw outside of Wimbledon, meets experienced Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
Marin Cilic, who lost last year's final to Federer, will begin his 2019 campaign against home hope Bernard Tomic. "I'm just enjoying every minute of it".
Federer and Djokovic discovered their fate for the Australian Open earlier today after the draw was made. "I've had a great off-season and I feel very well prepared".