ROME -- With historic flooding resulting in 20 deaths and the evacuation of cities in Serbia, Novak Djokovic has found it difficult to focus on tennis this week at the Italian Open. Djokovic advanced to the final after a coming back from a set down to beat Milos Raonic 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the semifinals.
"I'm enjoying that I'm in finals, but I'm feeling uncomfortable a little bit because there is so many sportsman back in [Serbia] and everything is stopped," Djokovic said. "Everything is [postponed] because of this situation and they are helping and I'm not able to do that."
After his win Djokovic signed the camera with a cyrillic message for his countrymen back home. It read, "I love you." He then led a group that included Raonic and coach Boris Becker to Court Pietrangeli to take a group picture to spread awareness of the disaster back home. Djokovic criticized the international media for not giving due coverage to the situation in Serbia.
"Unfortunately there's not enough awareness of what's going on," Djokovic said. "I see on CNN and BBC and other big networks there's a lot of talk about the miners in Turkey and so forth and it's another disaster. But no broadcast about Serbia and this is the biggest flood that I've ever seen and maybe that Europe has ever seen. This is incredible. So I hope people can find the common sense and broadcast this a little bit and spread the awareness of what's going on."
Djokovic called for aid from the international community and is trying to do everything he can to get the word out. "We need help. This rain that is constantly falling for four days already is going to stop eventually and the rivers, the flood is going to back up. After that there's a period of definitely a minimum of several months of recovery. People ar without homes. We need as much help in any kind of way as possible from the world."
Djokovic will play No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final. The Spaniard has played himself into form this week and is into the final after a dominating 6-2, 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitov.