A nice piece in the Guardian here about the fact that Andre Agassi hated tennis.
It appeals to me, the somewhat tragic aspect of the sportsman who hates the only thing he can do. Other examples that spring to mind are Stan Collymore (football) and Chris Eubank (who used to regularly profess his loathing of boxing, but as with so much about the man, it was hard to tell to what extent this was a pose).
A much better example is Ronnie O’Sullivan, by some distance the most gifted snooker player ever. Some people actively dislike the man, but I think it’s a failure of empathy to damn O’Sullivan’s various brainstorms and mood-swings and lashings-out. He is a man in a very strange situation: he hates snooker. He is visibly bored and irritated by the prospect of having to poke all those frigging balls into the poxy little pockets over and over again. But he can’t do anything else and all of his peers envy his outrageous talent. And always the mediocrities, the keen tryers, the sad-acts who go on to make a living talking about this most trivial of pastimes, are endlessly nagging, nagging at him to knuckle down and be a ‘professional’.
But professionals are in many ways the bane of sport, the stodge. O’Sullivan is the only snookerist worth watching. That’s why, as well as being the most disliked player, he’s also the most popular.