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Carlos Alcaraz's bucket hat, Buck, speaks
If Rod Laver can wear one, why can't he?
Published Jul 11, 2023
PRESS CONFERENCE: Bucket-hatted Carlos Alcaraz fields reporters' questions at Wimbledon
When Carlos Alcaraz showed up for his pre-Wimbledon press conference wearing a white bucket hat, it triggered an outpouring of questions and opinions about his lid. In an attempt to answer some of those questions, TENNIS.com has secured an exclusive interview with Alcaraz’s bucket hat. It was conducted in Wmbledon’s Competitor’s Tea Room on a recent afternoon.
Q: Hello and thank you for agreeing to do this interview. For starters, can you tell us how you’d like to be called?
A: Buck is fine, and it rhymes with “Chuck,” which is what I call Carlos. To me, Carlitos is cutesy-pooh, and “Charlie” makes it sound like Carlos is your best friend’s tag-along little brother. Chuck has more heft, it’s more manly.
Q: That’s interesting because, with all due respect, bucket hats have never been considered cool. I mean, Bill Cosby? Gilligan? Sixty-year-old dudes fishing? Has anyone accused you of putting the Alcaraz “brand” at risk?
Buck: Actually, the opposite is true. There’s been an explosion of support and interest. As you know, Carlos is a great student of history. You heard him after his match the other day, when he said, “I watched a lot of videos, a lot of matches from legends playing on that beautiful Centre Court.” Bucket hats were big back in the day! Many of those legends, including the great Rod Laver, wore them in matches. Laver and others often lined their buckets with wet cabbage leaves to keep their heads cool on hot days. You can look that up if you don’t believe me.
Now it’s been all about trucker caps, sometimes worn backwards. Somebody tell those guys that they’re playing tennis, not hauling 18-wheelers down the I-5. What about those wide headbands, like Federer used to wear? Who are you, Johnny Depp in that pirate movie?
How about those thin princess headbands that keep back the hairs that tend to leak out of a man bun, like Alejandro Davidovic-Fokina’s? Did you see the other day, ADJ vs. Holger Rune with his ball cap? Sheeesh, man buns, duckbills. . . let’s show a little respect for history.
Q: So how does it feel being Carlos Alcaraz’s hat?
Buck: Like being the cherry atop a hot fudge sundae. Or the star on top of a Christmas tree. I like to think of myself as the bad-ass of the hat world.
Q: How do you think you influence Carlos’s worldwide image?
Buck: Let’s be honest, I make Chuck look like a regular, fun guy—not like some dude who thinks he’s God’s gift because he’s won a few or maybe 23 Slams. Chuck and I, we look like we’re in a beer ad, or maybe it’s Captain Morgan or some brand of tequila, just chilling on some ultra-cool beach somewhere. Chuck is so comfortable and transparently himself that people love him. And because he’s also super talented, whatever he does, or wears, or listens to—automatically it becomes cool just because he’s the one into it. Yeah, he’s one of those guys.
Q: So how did this partnership with Chuck come about?
Buck: I waited for this break for a long time. Nike was running out of new ways to market trucker caps, so they came to me and recognized a good thing when they saw it. Being Nike, though, they had to overcomplicate it searching for the right client fit when it was right in front of their nose. During one meeting of the marketing and sales team, some junior exec with a nose ring and neck tats tried to convince the brass to pair me with Nick Kyrgios. Gag me with a spoon! But I’m not bitter.
Q: May I ask what size you are, Buck?
Buck: Large. Chuck has a big head. In a good way.
Q: Do you ever wish Carlos would wear you during a match, like Laver wore his bucket hat in the old days?
Buck: Yeah, because I honestly think I could send him good brain waves when he needs them. Go ahead and smirk if you like, but I know things. Do you think he just shuts down when he leaves the courts? Like the other day after he beat Jarry in four sets. We were going back to our digs in a courtesy car, me and Chuck. He was recalling how, waiting to return a break point serve at a pretty key moment, he found himself fantasizing about eating a big, fat bocadillo de lomo—not where to put his serve.
Another time, he caught himself thinking about what color he would get if he bought a Maserati. It’s a focus issue, and he’s aware of it. After the match he even told reporters, without going into specifics, “For me, that’s something that I have to learn more, to stay focused all the time.”
So yeah, call me crazy, but I think I can help him by exuding positive energy. I mean, I would be there on top of his head, right? He likes canary yellow, by the way.
Q: Is your life as easy and enjoyable as it appears at tournaments?
Buck: Most of the time, yes. But I don’t especially enjoy traveling all scrunched up in a suitcase in cargo during a flight. I don’t like it when Chuck leaves me in a taxi cab, or takes a walk on a beach and the wind blows me off his head into the surf. And let me tell you, it’s no fun going through a complete cycle in the washing machine, even those so-called “green” European machines that use less water.
Q: Buck, do you ever get lonely?
Buck: How could I not? Anyone would, if they get shut up inside a locker, or stuffed into a racquet bag when he’s on court, just when things are about to get interesting. But you have to take the bad with the good. And maybe it’s better if he does his thing while I do mine. The way I see it, the attention is nice, and it would be no fun to spend hours in the hot sun, lined with wet cabbage leaves. So, no complaints.
Thank you, and vaya con Dios.