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Carlos Alcaraz’s Headwear Is Bucking Tennis Tradition

Nov 27, 2023

If there’s one thing you need to know about new Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz, it’s that he does things his own way.

Alcaraz, who the week prior was announced as Louis Vuitton’s latest ambassador, addressed the press ahead of the tournament’s commencement wearing an ear-to-ear grin (a norm for the Spaniard) and a NikeCourt bucket hat.

A post shared by Carlos Alcaraz Garfia (@carlitosalcarazz)

While wearing such headwear to a presser may seem fairly ordinary, it actually served as further proof of the 20-year-old’s unwillingness to conform to the sport’s status quo, one most pertinent at Wimbledon because of the tournament's dress-code.

The official rules of dressing at SW19 state that “competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white and this applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround,” although this refers only to any on-court activities.

A post shared by Carlos Alcaraz Garfia (@carlitosalcarazz)

The rules also state that “Caps (including the underbill), headbands, bandanas, wristbands and socks must be completely white except for a single trim of color no wider than one centimetre (10mm).”

So while Alcaraz’s NikeCourt bucket hat (which is still available at Nike) isn’t against any rules, it is one example of Alcaraz pushing boundaries.

A post shared by HIGHSNOBIETY (@highsnobiety)

During last year’s Wimbledon, Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios caused a commotion at SW19 when he took to centre court wearing a pair of red Air Jordan 1 Lows (something forbidden under point 8 of the rules.)

When a journalist questioned Kyrgios as to why he wore code-violating sneakers he replied with “I do what I want.” The following week he then twisted the knife once more by wearing a red Jordan cap on court.

Unlike Kyrgios, however, Alacraz isn’t breaking any rules. In fact, he’s doing his utmost to look stylish while remaining in-keeping with Wimbledon’s frankly archaic sartorial system, albeit one that didn’t apply at the time. In which case I'm all in favor of it.

There’s an unwritten rule in tennis (and at Wimbledon especially) that it’s a sport that prides itself on being prim and proper, and one that rarely deviates from tradition.

Alcaraz, who remains world number one and is now both Wimbledon and US Open reigning champion, and arrived in London as the pre-tournament favorite with an aim of bettering his performance the year before when he lost to Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals.

His win against Novak Djokovic on July 16, with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal now out of the picture, has been seen as tennis officially entering its Alcaraz era after a 20-year stranglehold by the aforementioned "Big Three."

And, if anyone is going to buck Wimbledon's obsolete sartorial trend, it’s little Carlito Alcaraz, the new golden boy of tennis.

This article was first published on July 12 and then updated on July 17.