Changing of the Guard

It’s happening! Or at least I think it is? I believe we are witnessing a changing of the guard in the men’s tennis world.

This week was the year-end ATP Finals in London. The top eight ranked men’s players gather in London, England to battle for the final title of the year. If you’ve been keeping an eye on men’s tennis for the last couple of years, you will recall Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal dominated 2017 winning two majors each between them. And then this year, something interesting happened. Novak Djokovic got healthy, rehired the team he fired just a year earlier, dominated the second half of 2018, and ended the year at #1! Bye Roger. Bye Rafa. Bye Felicia! (Don’t worry, Rafa and Roger are still ranked #2 and #3, respectfully).

So, it was no surprise that Novak Djokovic made it to the finals today. His opponent was 21 year old German, Sascha Zverev. Yesterday, Zverev had to play Roger for a spot in the finals and beat him in two sets that ended in a dramatic tiebreak. If you watched this match (or if you watched Good Morning America this morning where they talked about the incident and referred to Sascha simply as “Roger’s opponent”…shame on you, GMA) you would have seen a freak accident of a ball kid dropping a ball mid-point, automatically forcing the players to stop and replay the point. This gave a slight advantage to Zverev, but let’s be honest…he was outplaying Federer, paws down, but not by much!

Hiss, I digress…

Anymeows, I could have told you Zverev was the dark horse coming into this tournament. He was primed to do well. He’s played an incredible season, he is young (average age of the top four is 32.5, and Sascha is #5 at 21 years old), and he’s improving. He just hired Ivan Lendl to join his coaching team, so I predict he will win his first major next year.

Today’s match against Novak looked nothing like the Federer match. Sascha was in control from the beginning and won the match easily 6-4, 6-3.

Now it’s time for some truth serum. You ready? I’m not a huge fan of Sascha, usually because he says stupid things, acts a bit arrogant, and if I am super honest (which, you know I am), I’m not a fan of his hair! It’s not really the hair that gets me, but how he wears his headband around the hair. Secretly, I hope Ivan Lendl has a talk with him over the holiday and Sascha surprises us with a new do next season!

But even so, I believe we are witnessing a changing of the guard. Roger can’t play forever. Rafa can’t either. Novak will probably have a stellar season next year. But I believe it will be Sascha Zverev leading the charge to change the tennis landscape that we have all been familiar with for the last decade or so. Are you ready for some new faces? I am!

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Movies Ten…Explanation Zero

I am jumping on the bandwagon with what looks like a fun challenge:

10  movie challenge. You are to post just an image, no explanation, from 10 movies that had an impact on you. 10 movies, 10 images, no explanations.

This was a fun challenge so I encourage you to have a go yourself.  Publish a post with images from ten movies that had an impact on you – no explanation.  Send me a message so I can check out your post. Have fun!

Image result for princess leia

Image result for titanic movie

Image result for love actually

Image result for beaches movie Image result for santa claus is coming to town

Image result for bridget jones diary

Image result for st elmo's fire movie

Image result for breakfast club

Image result for color purple movie

Image result for the devil wears prada

Hope you enjoyed my list, and I can’t wait to see yours!

Happy Friday!

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Election Day!

This is your furriendly reminder to get out there and vote today!

If you’re thinking “But Frazier, the lines are so long, I might get bored.” Well, get out your phone and watch cute cat videos. Or better yet, here are some cute pictures of cats reminding us to vote!

These kittens doing their civic duty and getting that ballot in the box!

Image result for images of cats voting Image: motherjones.com

This orange cat doesn’t seem too happy about it, but he rocked the vote!

Image result for images of cats votingImage: The Daily Dot

This cat means serious business when it comes to voting! Tie is optional at the voting booth!

Image result for images of cats votingImage: me.me

This guy will raise his paw for a vote!

Image result for images of cats votingImage: business2community.com

Voting is not rocket science! But it may make you feel out of this world!

Image result for images of cats voting               Image: Space Cat Voters

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We’ll Always Have Paris

Oui, Oui! We were in Paris this week for the last tournament before the ATP finals, and it was a good one! To celebrate, I had all of my French favorites…French fries, French toast and French onion dip! All while watching the drama unfold against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower.

The finals came down to a young up-n-comer, Karen Khachanov and a veteran, Novak Djokovic, whose star was a bit dim these last couple of years, but has decided to shine oh-so-brightly the second half of this year. So bright, in fact, that regardless of how he did in the final today, he will regain world number one spot tomorrow!

On paper, this was supposed to be Novak’s day! A return to glory. But I knew different. Khachanov has been killing it lately and I knew he had a chance. Khachanov took about a while to settle in and start playing his brand of tennis, but when he did, there was no holding back. His cross-court two-handed backhand is truly a something of beauty. Novak tried to wear him down, but he wasn’t having it. The look on Novak’s face was saying “This isn’t how this is supposed to be.” But yet it was, and the punishment just kept coming.

At the end of it all, Karen Khachanov won in two sets 7-6, 6-4. With this, he wins his first Masters 1000 event.

Image: APnews.com

And at the end of the day, Novak Djokovic end the year at number one! Concatulations to both!

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Happy Meow-loween!

Happy meow-loween from Frazier’s Racket! May you all have a safe and happy night of trick or treating.

To celebrate this spooky holiday, here are some mysterious pics of cats playing tennis!

“No, please!! Wait! I’m not ready!”

Image: punjabigraphics.com

This guy is going to smash that tennis ball for a cross court winner!

Image: keywordsuggest.org

“It was definitely out, but let me stalk my way over to the line for a closer look!”

Image: telegraph.co.uk

This little guy know to keep her eye on the ball.

Image: lifewithcats.tv

Um, I think you need a racquet to hit the ball.

                                     Image: funnycatpictures.net

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MPB – Revisited

The tennis world has once again, been flipped on it’s head over MPB! You know…male pattern baldness!

Believe it or not, male pattern baldness is one of the first things I wrote about when I started my tennis blog last year. Is There Room For MPB In Tennis? In all of my wildest catnaps would I have thought this would be a topic covered in my blog, but hey…hair we are!

There’s been a lot of buzz about the buzz Grigor Dimitrov got a few weeks ago.

Grigor before:

Image result for grigor dimitrov haircut

Grigor after:

There has been a lot of noise on Twitter about it, with many fans voicing disapproval. But for me, purrsonally, I am a fan! When you are in the public eye as much as these guys are, and navigating being a tennis “star”, everything is up for scrutiny and everyone has an opinion. But for me, all that matters is the tennis.

Maybe he is channeling his inner Agassi! It wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. He has been spotted practicing with Andre in these last couple of weeks, and maybe that will be just the change he needs to get his career back on track.

Related image

Let me know what you think. Do you like the new do?

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Two ATP Firsts on Sunday

I have some exciting news! On this Sunday, we had two young players win their first ATP titles!

In Sweden, 20 year old, Stefanos Tsitsipas captured his first ATP title at the Stockholm Open. It was a quick two set match against veteran, Ernest Gulbis. Now, if we could just get him to cut his hair. (I’m not a super fan of this pirate look, but you do you, Stefanos!)

Next up, Britain’s Kyle Edmund, 23 years old, won his first ATP title at the European Open. He had to battle a pretty good fight against flashy Frenchman, Gael Monfils, but he eventually winning in a tie break in the third set. Way to go, Kyle. (And look at that trophy! That is awesome!)

We are just a few short weeks away from the year end finals…first the Next Gen Finals, for which Tsitipas has earned himself a seat, and then the year end finals. I’ll keep you updated on the latest.

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A Little Shift In The ATP Rankings

What was that? Did you feel something? Was that a little rattle, a little hum? Did the Earth tremble just a little bit? It’s subtle, but I could swear it did!

Maybe there was no 8.0 earthquake, but let me meow to you…there is a shift happening in the ATP rankings right now and I am super excited!

Image result for novak djokovic shanghai 2018Image: atpworldtour.com

This past week at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Roger Federer lost in the semifinals to 21 year old, Borna Coric, and Novak Djokovic won the title! What does this all mean, you ask? It might sound a bit complicated, but follow me here (simplified version)…

Earlier this year, I explained a bit about ATP points in a post titled Everything Counts In Large Amounts. Since then, there’s been a lot of movement in the ATP rankings, which affects who gets to play in the ATP Finals in November.

The Shanghai Rolex Masters was a 1000 level tournament. That means the winner gets 1000 points, and every person after that gets fewer points, depending on how far they got in the tournament. For instance, the loser of the final match gets 600 points, if you make the semifinals you get 360 points, etc. If you win the year before, you have to defend your points or they are lost.

Roger Federer won the Shanghai Rolex Masters in 2017. This year, he only got to the semifinals (loss in points), and Novak Djokovic won (gain in points). Last year, Roger won Wimbledon (a 2000 point grand slam), but this year Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon. So all of this gaining and losing of points has now moved Novak Djokovic into the #2 ranking! Last year and for most of this year, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal went back and forth for the top two spots. Recall that in 2017, every grand slam tournament was won by either Rafa or Roger. Now, there is a mere 215 points separating Rafa Nadal at #1 and Novak Djokovic at #2.

In April 2018, the rankings looked like this:

  1. Rafa Nadal – 8770 points
  2. Roger Federer – 8670 points
  3. Sascha Zverev – 5195 points
  4. Marin Cilic – 4985 points
  5. Grigor Dimitrov – 4950 points

Today, the rankings look like this:

  1. Rafa Nadal – 7660 points
  2. Novak Djokovic – 7445 points
  3. Roger Federer – 6260 points
  4. Juan Martin Del Potro – 5860 points
  5. Sascha Zverev – 5025 points

What an exciting way to finish up the season. With one more Masters 1000 level tournament left and a couple of 250 and 500 level tournaments, it truly is a race to the finals! Can’t wait to see how it ends!

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The Tennis Match Playlist

I was watching the Shanghai Masters this week and I noticed something that made me meow! During a medical timeout for Dominic Thiem, they were playing “Down Under” by the 80’s Australian Band Men At Work. It got me to thinking…did they play the song because the physio was working on Thiem or was it just a happy coincidence? Well, either way, it got me thinking…wouldn’t it be fun to put together a playlist that could be a running narrative for a tennis match!

I’m not talking about the obvious songs like “We Are The Champions” or “Eye of the Tiger.” I really wanted to stretch my kitty imagination and come up with some obvious, but not so obvious choices. Here we go!

I’m a Survivor, by Destiny’s Child. This would be a good choice for when a player comes back from a break down and wins a set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything By Swing Out Sister! This one could be twofold. One, if a player is just killing it with the forehand or a backhand, or just swinging at the ball to save her tennis life, she is “swinging out, sister!!”. If you play the song “Breakout”, this could be played when someone breaks someone else’s service game. Either way, I totally love this song, just like I totally love the 80’s!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Distance, by Cake. This one is obvious! The would be played if the match was going to a fifth set! So much fun! And this song would be purrfect to be blasted in a stadium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Fought the Law, by the Clash. Now, I know this is a cover, so settle down. But it is still an awesome version. This could be played right after a player has an epic meltdown between the umpire, and of course, the umpire will win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Spin My Round (Like a Record), by Dead or Alive. I can see this being played after an imposing rally on clay…anyone against Rafa Nadal, or on grass…anyone against Roger Federer, or on hard court…anyone against Novak Djokovic! Those guys really make their opponents spin round like a record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything by Ace of Base! Get it…Ace! This one could be played during a John Isner match. He’s the king of aces this days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety Dance, by Men Without Hats. I specifically suggested Safety Dance because Men Without Hats were a bit of a one-hit wonder. But this could be played any time we see a man without a hat (which is pretty often!). And, it’s a super fun song, so I bet the crowd would get up a jam to this!

 

 

 

 

 

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over, by Lenny Kravitz. One, I love this song, possibly his best song ever! Two, this is a obvious choice to be played to encourage the losing player to stay focused, get his/her head right and go out there and play like they still got a shot!

 

 

 

The Best, by Tina Turner. I’m purrty sure this would be most appropriately be played at the end of a match when they are announcing the winner!

 

What do you think of my list? Did I miss any songs that would really make a statement during a tennis match? I am most certain I did. As you can see, the 80’s and 90’s it truly my musical wheelhouse. Let me know what you would add. This could be fun.

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The Asian Swing

Ah yes, we are smack dab in the middle of the Asian Swing! Is it a new form of dance style you ask? A new type of baseball technique? Or maybe a new playground toy for kids in the backyard? No, of course not! The Asian Swing is that fun time of year in between the last grand slam of the season (the US Open) and the ATP Finals. The Asian Swing!

Last week, we found the guys playing in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. This week, we have two tournaments, one in Tokyo, Japan and the other in Beijing, China. And next week, they wrap up the Asian Swing in Shanghai, China for a Masters 1000 event. All of this for a final push to rack up ATP points for the year end Final, which only takes the top eight players!

Today was the final of the China Open and the Tokyo Open. Here are just some quick observations from both tournaments.

The China Open final between Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina and Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia:

I have a bit of a confession. I’ve become a bit fascinated with Basilashvili. One, he has a fun last name to say! Two, he hits the ball very hard and makes impossible angles with his shots. Three, he always looks a little sad…or maybe deep in thought, like a wise philosopher or poet. Four, he has these deep, brooding, blue eyes the color of a clear sky on a Spring day.

Anyway, Basilashvili wins this match, 6-4, 6-4. Yes, Del Potro was a bit under the weather, but I don’t want to diminish the excellent play of Basilashvili!

At the end of the match, I walked away with two observations:

  1. Paul Annecone, commentator for the Tennis Channel, actually said “he looks like a man who wants to be tucked up in bed with a hot toddy.” Now, this would make sense if he was saying it about Del Potro, but I’m pretty sure he said it about Basilashvili. Odd.
  2. Why did the continue to play the music over the trophy presentation? It just made it very hard to hear what the players were saying and it was all around distracting.

 

The Tokyo Open final was between Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Kei Nishikori of Japan:

  • Nishikori had hometown advantage, but that was no match for Medmedev.
  • It was a quick match with Medvedev the victor, 7-6, 6-1.
  • Cup ‘o Noodles is a corporate sponsor of this event and they had giant Cup ‘o Noodles statues at the corners of the court. Kind of funny; kind of cute.

The guys are in Shanghai this week and it is a BIG tournament, so I’m sure there will be lots to discuss. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you up to date.

Have a great week, everyone!

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If A Tree Falls In The Forest…

And no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a tennis match is played on a court and no one is there to see it, does it really count?

That is all I kept thinking while I watched the quarterfinal matches of the Shenzhen Open yesterday, and the semifinals this morning. And the answer is, of course it counts! Even though this tournament is only an ATP 250 event and it doesn’t draw the big names like Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer, that does not mean the level of tennis is any less exciting.

As I watched the quarterfinals yesterday, it looked like less than 100 people in the stands, and today maybe only slightly more. The fans in the stands were treated to physical, heart-felt, come from behind matches filled with incredibly close scores and tiebreaks, to boot! I kept thinking about the players on the court. How do they feel when they put hours of practice and time in the gym, money to travel around the globe with their team to huge, urban cities, and play their very best…to an empty stadium? Is it hard to play without the energy of the crowd behind you? Maybe, maybe not. I will never know.

But I want to make a plea to all of the casual tennis fans out there. Just because it’s a name you may not recognize right now, like Alex De Minaur or Yoshihito Nishioka, give them a try. Watch a match or two. Find a “favorite” player that no cat else has heard of! Watch the less known tournaments and fall in love with the spirit of the game. Even Pete Sampras and Roger Federer had to start somewhere.

For now, let’s celebrate this guy…Yoshihito Nishioka, who just made his first ATP final at the Shenzhen Open!! Concatulations!

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Laver Cup – Is This Going To Be A Thing?

Laver Cup, year II, has arrived, and this year it is on US soil, in the Windy City of Chicago! Thank catness this event is played indoors because it would be terribly difficult to play tennis in this Windy City! I’ve been to the Windy City more than once, and let’s just say my fur practically blew off!

Image result for laver cup logo

After last year’s success, I was curious whether or not this is going to take off and be the next big “tennis” thing. And with the changes made to the Davis Cup this year, this just might be it. The jury is still out, but it’s looking purrty positive.

To refresh…Laver Cup is a three-day tournament named after the living legend, Australia’s Rod Laver. It’s played indoors on a modern designed gray court. There are two teams: Team Europe vs. Team World. Here is the make up of this year’s teams.

Team Europe: Bjorn Borg – team captain; Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Kyle Edmund, Sascha Zverev, Novak Djokovic,David Goffin, and Jeremy Chardy as the alternate.

Image result for laver cup teams 2018Image:10sBalls.com

Team World: John McEnroe – team captain; Kevin Anderson, John Isner, Diego Schwartzman, Jack Sock, Nick Kyrgios,  Frances Tiafoe, and Nicholas Jarry as the alternate.

Image result for laver cup teams 2018 Image:10sBalls.com

The coolest thing about Laver Cup is you get to see a one of a kind team environment in a sport that is uniquely a “solo” sport. Players who are typically rivals and now teammates, and sometimes even doubles partners. Last year, we got to see Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal team up for a doubles match. This year, we have seen Roger play doubles with Novak Djokovic. That would NEVER happen at a regular tour event.

I have to admit, to be purrfectly honest, last year’s line up was more exciting to me. I miss seeing Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem this year…however, their absence opens up room for players like Kevin Anderson, Kyle Edmund and Diego Schwartzman to get some much needed love and attention.

Opening day was a blood bath for Team World, with Team Europe winning three of the four matches played. We shall see how the rest of the tournament plays out.

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The Heavy-Hearted Side of Tennis

Furriends, I just got through watching the women’s final at the US Open and I am not feeling light-hearted as I usually do. Matter of fact, my heart is heavy. It should be a celebratory time, but instead I am feeling a lot of conflicting emotions. Anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, joy…all of these things.

Let’s set the scene for you. Serena Williams, who was out this time last year giving birth to her first child, has fought her way back this past year and made it to the US Open final. No small feat, but she’s a fighter and a champ and she did it with conviction and determination. Naomi Osaka, 20 year old, who has played excellent tennis earlier this year, had a bit of a slump mid-season, fought back and was making her debut at a grand slam final. In my mind, it was Naomi’s time to win today. She has beaten Serena before and she has been playing well this tournament, so I always thought Naomi was going to win.

First set was all Naomi Osaka…quick 6-2.

Then it all went to hell in a hand basket in the second set. A lot went down, so try to follow me here…

The chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, called a code violation on Serena for getting coaching from her coaching box. She had a “conversation” with the chair umpire that she doesn’t cheat, that she would rather lose a match than win while cheating. You can see it on TV, and her coach later admitted, he was coaching… he motioned to her to go to the net more. Then Naomi broke Serena’s service game and Serena smashed her racquet. Code violation #2. Two code violations = one point for the other player. At the end of that game during the change over, Serena brought up the coaching thing again and called him a thief for robbing her of her point. Things escalated, and she asked for the tournament director and she discussed this with them, too, saying it was unfair, that this would never happen if this was a man doing these things. This resulted in code violation #3. Every violation called after 2 is a game penalty. So, she lost a game and the score is 3-5.

Meanwhile, poor Naomi is checking her own pulse, trying to remain calm. Naomi eventually serves out the last game and wins her first major title! Congratulations Naomi Osaka! Unfortunately, it is overshadowed by the mess that unfolded on court today.

No smile: Osaka did not look too happy about her victory - APImage: Yahoo Sports

This pictures makes me so sad. Naomi Osaka couldn’t even break a smile while hoisting the trophy for the first time.

Emotions…here is how I’m feeling.

Anger…that Naomi was robbed from her celebration! She was the better player today from the beginning. This was her first slam…against her idol. She is a shy girl to begin with and she couldn’t even have her moment.

Frustration…that Serena had to be subjected to questionable actions on the chair umpire’s part. There was fault on both sides. How he handled things, how she handled things. All around, just a mess!

Sadness…that, unfortunately Serena is right. There is a double standard in sport and in society when it comes to men and women. We saw it this week when the female player got a violation for taking her shirt off and changing during a match. We see it in what men can get away with saying on the court (cuss words, etc), and what women can say. We see it in classrooms and in business…men being rewarded for be assertive and aggressive and women being punished, over looked, or deemed “difficult to work with” if they show the same actions.

Confusion…of why this couldn’t have been settled off court. I know Serena was in the moment, but part of me says take the violation and move on (there is another player standing on the other side of the court waiting on you). But also feeling like Serena had every right to stand up for herself and call out the injustice that was playing out before her.

Joy…for Naomi Osaka!! Make no mistake, this young player is here to stay! She’s got something special, and now she’s got a grand slam. I was happy to see during the post match ESPN coverage just outside of Arthur Ashe stadium, that the crowd was cheering for her, chanting her name and acknowledging her as a champion! She deserved that, even if it was a little bit late!

osaka.jpg                Image: Yahoo Sports

So if you will forgive me, all of these emotions have me exhausted. I think I’ll go take a catnap!

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The Importance of Beauty Rest

Furriends, have I ever talked to you about how important it is to get your beauty rest? Well, it is super important. Getting the proper amount of rest is imperative in all aspects of your overall health, from improving your mood and concentration to helping with weight loss.

Well, let me tell you…this week I have NOT been getting my beauty rest! Did you know that cats sleep 16 to 20 hours a day? I need at least that much to maintain my good looks! But epic night matches at the US Open has kept me from getting adequate rest this week!

It started with last Saturday night when I just had to stay up for the Marin Cilic/ Alex De Minaur match. Late Night at the Open

Then came Monday night with the Roger Federer/John Millman match that had everycat talking! If you recall, that match was played in hot, humid conditions in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Both players were soaked to the bone and Roger wasn’t looking his best. But it was Millman that out hit, out played, and just dominated that match. I couldn’t possibly go to bed and miss that drama.

Here is John Millman after winning his match against Roger.

John Millman.Image: MSN Sport

The following day, we were gifted with an epic quarterfinal match between Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem. This turned into a 4 hour and 49 minute smashfest that is an instant classic. It is matches like this that makes me wish both players could win, but of course we know that this is not the nature of sports! You have winners and you have losers. The winner was me because I got to witness a beautiful display of athleticism and sportsmanship from both players. And the loser was me because I didn’t get to bed until 2am!!

Rafael NadalImage: BBC Sports

Thankfully, last night was not as bad. John Millman, the guy who knocked out Federer Monday night played Novak Djokovic. I think Millman didn’t have enough gas left in his talk to play the type of match he wanted to, and Djokovic won the match in three sets. I was in bed by 11pm.

So, here I am on day four this week and I just watched Serena Williams win her semi-final match against Anastacia Sevastova in no time flat. I am currently watching the second women’s semi-final match between Madison Keys and Naomi Osaka. Osaka is up a set, but you know how it is. Momentum could swing and this could easily turn into a three set match. I’m purrty sure Osaka has this in the bag (she has Serena’s former coach now), so hopefully there will be lights out here soon. This kitty needs his rest…

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Happy Labor Day from Frazier’s Racket

Happy Labor Day everyone! Labor Day…the day that celebrates all of us hardworking cats out there, working our paws to the bone…

Oh who am I kidding! I don’t work. I’m way too precious to work. I spend most of my days napping, eating, purring, and watching tennis, of course! But I know plenty of people who do work hard, like my human! She works all the time, or at least that’s what she tells me. Every morning, she wakes up early, mentions something about having to go to “work”, otherwise I wouldn’t have a place to live, food to eat, a couch to sit on, a TV to watch tennis. So, I forgive her for leaving me alone all day, everyday. But alas, she returns every evening, just in time to pour more food in my bowl, comb my hair, snuggle on the couch. She’s purrty great like that!

So, to all of you out there who are working hard (and to us fur babies who are hardly working), enjoy your day! Cook something on the grill, go shopping, play with your kids (human and the four-legged kind), watch some tennis (the US Open is going on, you know) and celebrate YOU!

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