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Monday, December 30, 2002
Updated: December 31, 12:29 PM ET
Who wants to date Anna?

From the Page 2 mailbag

You begged. You pleaded. You waxed poetic. You wrote Top 10 lists. You went to bat for your friends. You even turned against your own country.

When Page 2 opened up the mailbag, offering its readers the chance to "Win a Date with Anna," we were beseiged with more than 7,500 responses. We read through them all, and you had us laughing, crying ... and, uh, shaking our heads.

So, without further ado, it's time to announce the lucky readers who have won a copy of Anna Kournikova's 2003 Swimsuit Calendar. All 25 of the following letter-writers will soon be receiving the calendar in the mail.

And now, we want to identify the single person most worthy of a date with the tennis temptress. Check out the top five letters as chosen by Page 2's editors, and then vote in our poll to crown the most creative response. Who knows, maybe Anna will grant our champion a night to remember.

The Top Five Candidates:

Anna Kournikova
Anna is all dressed up and ready for a nice romantic evening.
I actually wanted Ivan Drago to beat Rocky. Posters of you and Alexander Belov cover my walls. The Russian basketball team deserved the '72 gold medal. John Glenn and Neil Armstrong combined can't hold a candle to Yuri Gragaren. That "Miracle On Ice" thing was the worst day of my life. Alexander Popov is better than Mark Spitz on his best day. My least favorite movie of all-time is "Ruskies" for its deplorable exploitation of the prevailing '80s American sentiment towards Russia.

Nikolai Volkov would kill Hulk Hogan in a steel-cage match. Gregory Hines couldn't hold Baryshnikov's jock. In the '80s, I lobbied the video game industry for a national ban on "Russian Attack." Yakov Smirnoff is the greatest comedic genius of all-time. When I was 8, I dressed as Gorbachev for Halloween.

If I can change (and start dating popular tennis stars), and you can change (and date an attorney from Baltimore), everybody can change! I love you Anna.
Greg Jackson
Baltimore


I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch break, making them more efficient in heat-retention. I play bluegrass cello. I was scouted by the Mets. I am the subject of numerous documentaries. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst and a ruthless bookie. I don't perspire. I once read "Paradise Lost," "Moby Dick" and "David Copperfield" in one day. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. I breed prize-winning clams.

On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. The laws of physics do not apply to me. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet. I have performed open-heart surgery. And I have spoken to Elvis. But I have not yet dated Anna Kournikova.
Thomas Gallagher
New York


Anna Kournikova
A date with Anna would make the ideal gift for an unfortunate friend.
In a time of giving and holiday cheer, I am making what truly might be the ultimate personal sacrifice. I would like to win the date not for myself but for my buddy, Steve. For what we know has been sometime, Steve has not gone on a date. Steve plays soccer, so he has that international favor that Anna desires. As Hubie Brown would say:

"OK, I'm Steve. I'm a late bloomer with a tremendous amount of upside. I'm not getting a lot of action right now, but I'm gaining confidence everyday, and it's only a matter of time. I'm living in the South with an inordinate amount of attractive women, so the laws of averages are with me. If I can keep working hard and doing what I'm doing, the sky is the limit for me."

Steve dreams of sporting the Doug Christie jersey someday as he currently totes the A.C. Green jersey (not the Lakers but the Mavs). In a Page 2 version of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, don't let Steve fall victim to a future episode of "Star Dates" with Kerri Strug.
Jason Gilham
Duluth, Ga


I don't like tennis. I'm going to be unemployed come February. I drink like a fish. I'm not a Russian hockey player. I'm not a Latin heartthrob. I have a girlfriend. I'm a die-hard Seahawks fan. My hobbies include gambling, strip clubs, and watching SportsCenter. Twice. In my eight years of driving, I have been pulled over at least 15 times and ticketed nine times. I have a small beer gut. I subscribe to Maxim, Playboy, and ESPN The Magazine, and take every word in them as gospel. Porn? Nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed "Saved By the Bell: The College Years." I live in the city and drive an SUV. I don't make the bed. I can't survive without caffeine in my system at all times. I've stayed overnight in Tijuana. I visit Vegas more times a year then I visit any of my aunts or uncles, and they all live within 30 minutes of me. My "size" is average. Why should Anna pick me? Because I don't see any of these things as being bad.
Jason Graham
Redmond, Wash.


I am a single elementary school teacher and coach tennis in high school. I am in my 20s. Maybe I could say this best in a Christmas poem:

Anna Kournikova
Most of our readers are willing to overlook Anna's struggles on the tennis court.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all the men on earth,
were hoping to write a reason that was of most worth.
So even I wrote a letter, why Anna should care,
In hopes after reading it she'd soon be here.
As I went to sleep, that night in my bed,
I had visions of Anna and I dancing 'round in my head.
I pictured Anna in her kerchief and I in my cap,
That's all she was wearing as she sat on my lap.
If this dream could come true I'd promise not to bite,
and she would enjoy herself all through the night!
Steve Shugart
Fairmount, Ind.


The Other 20 Winners:

A sampling of me:

I've never been hunted by the Russian Mob. In a darkly lit room, I bear a strong resemblance to Enrique Eglesias (mole sold separately). However, at 6-foot-4, I bet I match up well to Enrique's "assets." Despite my deep dark longings for a night of passion with Serena Williams, the blonde athletic chick thing does it for me, too. My one-bedroom condo is sure to give Anna that cozy, lived-in feeling. I've been known to watch women's tennis without being aroused by each and every grunt. In the face of my Arabic last name, I'm actually quite passive. Finally, I speak three languages, four if you include the mindless babble I would emit if ever I were lucky enough to be within 100 yards of Anna. In summary, date me, Anna, and learn the true meaning of 40-Love.
Fred Aziz
Alexandria, Va.


Never having played hockey, I will never take a swing at Anna (she may, however, rough me up as much as she likes). Not being a Latin pop star, I will not have to split my time between her and filming homoerotic Doritos commercials. Also being unemployed and somewhat less-than-active due to an unfortunate weight problem, I should have no trouble working around her hectic schedule should our date blossom into a long-term and meaningful relationship -- as I'm certain it will. I know I've said that about the last dozen or so dates I picked up on the Internet, but I really feel a special kinship with Ms. Kournikova. I can't describe it, but it's intense and it's real and sometimes when I look at her pictures I get a feeling like God is slapping me in the back of my head and screaming "Well, what are you waiting for?" What indeed, Page 2. What indeed.
Brian Goldman
Little Rock, Ark.


To an Athlete's Career, Dying Young

Oh what a promising career you once had,
Now you're more famous for that bra ad.

Anna Kournikova
Perhaps Anna would celebrate the chance to date an elementary school teacher.
Fans used to say, "She could be the best;"
Now all the guys chant, "Whoa, look at that chest!"

Isn't it amazing with that great groundstroke
If you relied on income from tourneys -- you would be broke!

Who would have guessed that the girl who dates hockey stars
Could very well end up dancing at strip bars?

Just when you think that your career is about drowned,
One date with me could turn it all around.

In only one evening you would have so much fun,
By the end of next year you will be the world's number one.
Matt Ungerank
St. Louis


You see, most guys just don't get it ... In this situation, you have to revert to reverse-psychology tactics.

Nothing gets a fashion model/tennis starlet more riled up than someone who seems disinterested. You have your, "type-flight professional Page 2 columnists," tell the Kournikova that no one replied to the ad you put on Page 2. Next, tell her to call back if she has any questions (this is the point where you give her my phone number because I thought of the idea). The Kournikova will be calling night and day I tell you! Pretty soon she will be the one wanting a date.

Reverse-psychology: second only to beer when it comes to boosting your game.
B-Mac
Oklahoma City


I have all of my teeth, and I do not have the weird thing on my face. I am reasonably attractive, somewhat humorous and have a decent butt.

Now for the most important reason: I am 38, separated and have four children.

This could be seen as a disadvantage but, on the contrary. I could show Anna how scary a long-term relationship can be. This action would probably keep her single for at least another 10 years or so. That would enable all males to think that they still have a chance with her. Isn't that what we all really want? Isn't that what the contest is about? To have 5 million guys thinking, "Hey, it could be me." It would really be a duty to all mankind. As an ex-Marine I am prepared to do my duty. I am ready to date Anna. After all, "It could be me."
Rick Molnar
Katy, Texas


Christmas time, the season for giving. For several years now, a date with Anna has been at the top of my list of holiday wishes. This year's list:

And as odd as it might seem to the 5-year-old in line behind me, it's even more awkward for me, a 27-year-old, to have to sit on Santa's lap year in and year out asking for one magical evening with the princess of professional tennis. I have been especially good this year. I cut down on swearing at referees. I waited until the Cubs' 124th game before using the phrase "next year." I even watched a WNBA game in its entirety. But I fear it will all be for naught, as Jolly Ol' Saint Nick won't come through. So I turn to you, ESPN, for help in making this Christmas one to remember. Choose me, Anna, for all the kids out there that still believe in Christmas miracles!
Eric Johnson
Rock Hill, S.C.


Anna Kournikova
Like an Anna billboard at Wembley, many of our candidates stand out from the crowd.
Being a soulmate for someone like Anna is a tall order. However, I feel that I have certain traits that would make me stand out from the crowd like a sports bra billboard at Wembley. My qualifications are listed as follows:

My perfect date with Anna would be to go shopping at the local mall, grab a light dinner and get home in time to turn on SportsCenter to laugh at the New York Rangers highlights while eating Doritos.
Britt Schramm
Reston, Va


Anna, you need someone down to earth,
A tall young man with not too much girth,
One who can stay up all night with you dancin'
But also woo you with some serious romancin'
I'm your date if you'll give me a try,
We'll go somewhere private where paparazzi can't pry,
Maybe a dinner, followed by a quiet walk,
Then a nightcap where we can continue to talk,
At the end of the night, for a kiss I would grovel,
After that you'd see why I'm way better than Pavel
So come on Anna, I know it's a reach,
I promise, won't ask 'bout fake pics on the beach,
If you give me a chance, you'll plainly see I'm no slob,
And if nothing else, maybe Page 2 will consider me for a job.
Matt McKenzie
Charlotte


The name of this contest should not be "Why should Anna go on a date with you?" Instead, a more apt title would read "Why wouldn't Anna want to go on a date with Chip Cutter?" Agreed, it wouldn't make for much of a contest, but the top 10 reasons are as follows:

10. Does not wear a knit skullcap (unless Anna wants him to).
9. Career success on almost the same level as Anna's (i.e., topped-out, mid-level professional).
8. Chip: Once worked for a hockey team. Anna: Once dated a hockey team.
7. Too late to change the lettering on pre-printed wedding invitations.
6. Successfully combined tennis and beer for one kick-butt drinking game.
5. College-loan debt roughly equal to Anna's WTA tournament earnings.
4. Refuses to submit entries to deplorable contests that objectify women and humiliate desperate men.
3. Must fulfill psychic friend's prediction that he is destined to marry a woman named Anna Kournikova.
2. Anna: World traveler. Chip: World Wide Anna Website traveler.
1. Surprisingly, Chip tends to be attracted to flawless Russian blondes with stellar bodies and minimal brain activity.
Chip Cutter
Cincinnati


Anna Kournikova
Anna is the light for a down-on-his-luck college grad.
I'm 23 and bored. I need Anna in my life right now. I cannot handle the working world without her in my life. Everyday I sit at this computer and type. I need Anna. I cannot handle the stress of work and the 180 my life has turned since I graduated from college. I really need Anna. While I sit here and 70 percent of my paycheck goes to student loans, and the rest toward my credit-card debt, Anna is the only one who can relax me. I need Anna. Everyday, my athletic ability is dwindling away, and the only way to secure my seed is passed can only be through a model/tennis star. America, I need Anna. I have honestly peaked, as my hairline gets larger and the bags under my eyes get bigger. Anna is the only one who can make my life complete with one date.

Please understand that this date isn't just for me, but for everybody who came out of their respective college and started a career with no light at the end of the tunnel. Well guys, Anna is the light.
Matthew D. Henry
Bensenville, Ill.


It's Christmas Eve. I should probably be out at some party. Instead I'm alone, watching "It's A Wonderful Life," and sitting here writing this. George Bailey is just about to jump off the bridge. If I ever considered jumping off a bridge (not that I would), I'd want my guardian angel to be Anna (instead of that old Clarence guy -- he's not quite as inspiring.) Nothing in this world or of the heavens could convince me more that life is worth living than seeing the beautiful Anna standing before me ?
Scott Kruitbosch
Stratford, Conn


I posed this question to my beautiful wife.

"Dear, why should Anna Kournikova, the only woman, next to you, who makes my knees buckle, the only fantasy I've ever truly wished for outside of the wonderful 14 years we've spent together, why should she go out on a date with me?"

My wife looked up at me from the magazine she was reading and said in a very pronounced tone ... "Because I said you can." She then went right back to the magazine. Wow, I already am the luckiest!

Gary Spradling
Redmond, Wash.


"Sexy Man Beast." A phrase commonly thrown around when I enter a room. Granted, a resounding "Him? God NO!" follows but only chumps care what the masses think. Anna should go on a date with me for a glimpse at what life would be like if she were desperate, blind, or resembled a Muppet -- much like my dates of past.

On my date of desperation, the tennis Titaness of titillation would swoon. ... Anna kindles a literary beauty in me, these words flow like diamonds from a hairy fountain of love whenever she is near. Gazing into her eyes as she constantly checked the clock, I'd woo her further with a wink and a display of my young manpowers, possibly by belching the love theme to Titanic or explaining why underwear shouldn't be worn.

Lastly, I would tell Anna, "If nothing else this date was worth ? it was the highlight of my life."
Barry Hayes
San Luis Obispo, Calif.


Top 10 Reasons Anna Kournikova should go out with Dave Kowalewski ... (with all due respect to Dave Letterman). From the home office in Baltimore, Md.:

10. He was once Mr. Villa Julie College.
9. Michael Jordan once asked for his autograph.
8. He would make a great mixed doubles partner.
7. He doesn't like the Red Wings anymore either.
6. He was once on the Taco Bell Wall of Fame.
5. Restraining orders have all expired.
4. Wouldn't have to change initials on monogrammed towels if you end up marrying him.
3. Imagine ESPN personalities trying to find an nickname for Kournikova-Kowalewski relationship.
2. Won't feel threatened by city government salary.
1. And the No. 1 reason ... the date gives her a great chance to win her first tournament, The Capital One Make Out with Dave Open.
David Kowalewski Jr.
Baltimore


Anna Kournikova
Do you love Anna enough to put her face on your shirt?
I am a humble man. I don't ask for much, but this is my one chance for happiness. I earnestly feel that I deserve this more than any man on earth. I truly surpass the common yet vague moniker of "Anna fan."

While many might be content to merely look at pictures of Anna, I wear one. My endless devotion is manifested in the form of a T-shirt bearing her beautiful image on the back. By virtue of wearing this shirt constantly, Anna is perpetually kept close to my heart, both literally and symbolically. This shirt has been embraced as the official shirt of my tennis team and has served as an endless repository of inspiration and motivation.

Even some of my closest friends mock me for my love, and say that my dreams of meeting Anna will never be realized. I have taken an absurd amount of mockery at the hands of these so-called friends and teammates, and going on a date with Anna would allow me to simultaneously achieve my dream while proving my friends wrong. My unrequited love for Ms. Kournikova is unparalleled, and there is no better basis than this on which to choose a winner.
David R. Ancarrow
Seaford, Va.


Quite simply, Anna should go out with me for the sake of the entire planet. It is no secret that global warming is a severe problem that affects all life on earth. Scientists are completely aware of this problem, but they have no idea what to do about it. But alas! If Anna were to agree to go out with me, hell would surely freeze over effectively counteracting the ramifications of global warming and the planet would be saved!
Bailey Jones
Auburn, Ala.


A few years back, I awoke to a cold and blistery morning on my college campus. I was going to Texas Christian University and preparing for the long drive back to Denver for Thanksgiving. As I turned on my radio after taking a shower, a news alert sounded. "An ice storm moved in leaving cars stranded from Amarillo to Fort Worth." I dropped my razor knowing immediately that I would be stranded in an empty fraternity house with no way to get home. I quickly dressed and turned on the TV. Oh no! The ice storm knocked out all of the cable dishes so television was no option.

I quietly heated up my Hungry Man turkey dinner and sat down in a quiet, empty room when suddenly -- I saw gleaming out of the corner of my eye, the Anna Kornikova tennis video laying in our Fraternity Chapter Room. Some poor sole unknowingly left it and undoubtly spent hours searching for it before leaving for home. I laughed at the thought of his plight.

Carefully I knelt down, picked up the sacred cassette and loaded it into the VCR. All of a sudden, like a bolt of lightening, I see Anna appear out of nowhere, playing the game she invented -- tennis (yes, she invented tennis for many men across the country).

It was then I realized how thankful I was on this joyous holiday, alone in my fraternity house. She was my savior....

Jeremy Stefanek
Denver


I'm willing to indemnify ESPN from any liability for my actions when I'm in the presence of Ms. Kournikova. ... I feel that it's a travesty that personal appearance isn't somehow factored into tennis rankings. ... For the record, I didn't actually sleep with the prostitute that tried to pick me up when I visited Russia as a high school senior. ... I'm willing to let The Sports Guy sit near me and tell me what to say (a la Cyrano De Bergerac). ...
Jamie Bergerson
Hermantown, Minn.

Anna Kournikova
Hey, what's your sign?

Dear Gemini

Off the tennis court, when camera aren't flashing and fans aren't scuffling over a towel which you had victoriously flung aside, who is this person ... this "Anna"? Is it possible that there are more to you than just a perfect athletic physique or that exquisite angelic exterior which glamorizes magazine covers all over large cities and even in small unknown villages of poor countries? And is there a personal "you" who longs for sanctuary with a trusted soul? A mate with whom you feel safe and comfortable enough to indulge and share your innermost secrets? And an acquaintanceship -- that glorious feeling of "this is the right one" -- which has eluded you 'til right this very moment?

Much like a delicate pair of beauteous and rare butterflies who are destined to meet at the mercy of helter-skelter winds ... as if propelled by destiny. Yet, drawn together by chance for an almost sacred once-in-a-lifetime encounter that will last for the rest of their pulchritudinous lives.

Precious occasions such as these stay with us forever. And looking back on such a perfect moment, years from now, knowing that it started it all.

Have a happy New Year, dear Butterfly.

Yours, Aquarius

Dr. Hardus Odendaal
Blacksburg, Va.


Why pick me do you ask? I ask, instead -- why not? Opposites attract as most anyone knows. I postulate then, is there a stronger attraction than Anna and I? The facts speak for themselves.

Anna is ludicrously rich. I'll be in debt when I die. Anna is athletic. I tire watching darts from my barstool. Anna is attractive. Children scream in terror at my approach. Anna is Russian. I am ... un-Russian. Anna is famous. My family forgets who I am. Anna has never won a singles tournament. I won the ring toss at the State Fair. Anna attracts people. I attract flies. A Google search on "Anna Kournikova" returns 410,000 matches. A Google search on me returns "You're about as inconsequential as they come."

This could continue, I argue, ad infinitum. But the point has already been made. If ever there has been a more glaring pair of two "star-crossed" lovers, I challenge anyone to prove it. Like apples and oranges, oil and water, yin and yang, Anna and I belong together like two peas in a pod.
Brett Welaj
Irving, Texas