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Simple Man, Juan Martin Del Potro

Simple Man, Juan Martin Del PotroWhen Juan Martin del Potro steps into a forehand and pulverizes the ball with a deep baritone grunt, it’s hard to imagine that the 6-foot-6 Argentine possesses a soft side. But he’d be the first to point out that his on-court personality differs greatly from his off-court demeanor. 

When he’s not traveling on tour, he spends quiet time with his family, saying his veterinarian father and school teacher mother have instilled a strong value system and sense of calm. A private man of few words, del Potro shares with Tennis View his thoughts on family. 

Q: What was your childhood like?

I think I was very happy as a kid and did all I wanted to with a lots of friends in a very safe environment.  My parents gave me a very good education and taught me the value of life.

Q: How is your relationship with your mom and dad different?

With my mom, I talk more about personal stuff and life in general; with my father, more about my career.

Q: In the future, why do you believe you’ll make a great husband and father?

I would love to have a family one day; I love kids. I would like to help them reach their dreams and to be a nice human being.

Q: What tradition from Argentina will you always follow and stay true to?

Family. In Argentina, we are used to staying together with families and eating lunch and dinner as many times as we can together.

Q: Since you enjoy family meals together, you must have a favorite recipe from your hometown? 

Asado, a typical Argentinean meal. There are no ingredients, just the best meat in the world and someone that knows how to cook at the grill for the right amount of time.

Q: Describe yourself in three to five words?

Tall, young, simple, tennis player.

Simple Man, Juan Martin Del Potro

Cattle are happy in Argentina where they roam freely on endless acres and graze on lush green grass.  Grass-fed cattle are the norm in Argentina, and the result is a steak full of flavor with less fat. However, grass-fed steak requires a special cooking method to maximize the flavors and reduce toughness. Juan Martin del Potro says he prefers the Asado style of cooking, a technique that can be altered so you too can enjoy his ultimate home-cooked meal.



  • 10-12 oz per person of free-range, grass-fed beef
  • Salt (preferably sea salt)

Choosing the meat

Grass-fed beef is a healthier, more flavorful alternative to the grain-fed steak popular in America. Beef imported from Argentina is ideal for Asado-style steak, but it is not readily available in the U. S. Grass-fed beef is found in most whole foods and butcher shops, where the choice of rib eye or similar cut of meat is available. Argentineans prefer thin cuts of steak.

Grill Preparation

Argentineans use an open wood fire similar to a barbeque, which is easily found at campgrounds and backyards in Argentina. A normal grill can be adapted to cook Asado steak by using a hardwood lump charcoal. Allow the grill to ash over completely and set the heat to medium.

How to Cook  

Without adding salt, gently place the steak over the grill for roughly three minutes. Once that side is browned, flip the steak and salt the browned side. After another three minutes, repeat this step for the other side. Rotate the steak every few minutes for about 12 minutes total cooking time. Consider keeping a water bottle nearby in the event flame or smoke threatens to touch the meat. Technically, the steak is done Asado style when its interior reaches 150-160 degrees.

When to eat

Let the steak cool for 15 minutes before carving. Cutting the steak too early will result in the tasty juices running out. Eat your steak with your favorite sides or salad, or to be truly authentic, try chimichurri, a traditional Argentinean sauce.

This article is from the Mar/Apr 2013 issue

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