Phil Blythe (09-16)
At a young age, one of the best choices I made was swapping schools from Watson's to Merchiston Castle School. My parents were particularly impressed with the importance the school placed on student wellbeing as my older brother had made the same swap a year earlier. Academically, I knew Merchiston would be a step up as the days were longer and on top of that, there were also classes on Saturday. Despite this, Teachers and Housemasters pushed students to their fullest potential, and by the time I walked home I would be exhausted.
Merchiston really helped me to mature in the sense of taking responsibility in my work, organisational skills and my tennis game. For me the biggest pull factor to Merchiston was the Tennis Academy. The program was particularly strong as we trained around 15 hours a week with individuals, along with strength and conditioning sessions. What really helped develop all the players at the academy was the importance placed on “fighting” for every point and never giving up. For me one of my highlights at Merchiston was being able to play at the ISF world Schools Finals in Doha and still to this day is one of the biggest stages I’ve ever played at. The experience was unbelievable, as we managed to finish 5th in the World at the time. Another highlight for me was winning a deciding tiebreak with team mate Douglas Macintosh to win the Scottish Cup Final which in turn helped the team the following year I graduated play in the ISF World School Finals in Brazil which they placed 2nd in the world.
One of my greatest achievements was without a doubt finishing 5th in the ISF World Schools finals in Doha. This trip was one of the most eye-opening moments in my life and learned a lot from other team’s cultures in the culture exchange night. On that night my teammates and I performed “I'm gonna be” by the Proclaimers in our kilts to the rest of the other teams at the event.