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After winning her opening match of the 2012 tennis season, Tennis Champion Serena Williams told reporters she doesn’t love the sport in which she excels.

“I don’t love tennis today but I’m here,” she said after beating Chanelle Scheepers, in the first round of the Brisbane International. “I can’t live without it – there’s a difference between not loving something and not being able to live without it. I have never liked sports and could never understand how I became an athlete.”

Serena went on to say that she doesn’t like working out or training and that her 2012 schedule will be scaled back in order to provide her rest for big tournaments. The lighter slate also is intended to keep her motivated.

From one view, Serena’s candor could be seen as refreshing. Here’s a top athlete discussing the delicate balance of passion and obligation and fear of the unknown. She’s revealing herself to the press, something she rarely has in the past.

Serena may experience some backlash from her recent statements. Some are saying Serena’s quotes are selfish nonsense. Some critics are expressing her “I don’t love tennis” quote isn’t a revelation, it’s a self-congratulatory declaration as if she’s saying, “Imagine what I could do if I actually cared.”