The daughter of a Kent farmer & fruit grower, tennis was in the Coles’ family blood for over a century. Mildred Cole’s sister Jessie was also a competitive player and appeared at Wimbledon three times between 1907-13. Mildred was the great aunt of Glynis Coles who reached the Italian doubles final in 1975 with Sue Barker (but lost to Navratilova and Evert) and was the great-great aunt of former professional Sarah Coles.
Mildred made her Wimbledon début in 1905 and reached the third round before losing to fellow Briton Ethel Thomson. She twice reached the last eight; in 1911 when she lost to [Edith Hannam] in three sets and in 1913 when she lost 6-1, 6-0 to [Dorothea Lambert Chambers]. At the 1908 London Olympics Mildred took part in the covered court singles and in her opening match against Sweden’s [Elsa Wallenberg] they were tied at one set each going into the third and final set. The Swede raced into a 4-0 lead before Coles pulled back to lead 5-4 and on two match points at 40-15 she damaged her wrist which forced her to agonisingly withdraw and thus miss out on a place in the semi-final.
After her 1913 Wimbledon appearance, Coles toured South Africa and extended her stay after meeting South African tennis player C N Davis. She returned to England in October 1913 only to announce that she was returning to Johannesburg the following month to marry Davis. She returned to Wimbledon in 1922 after a nine year gap and bowed out of the Championship in 1925, when she was 49. She continued playing beyond her 50th birthday and reached the semi-final of the Cinque Ports tournament in 1926.
|1908 Summer||32||London||Tennis||Women's Singles, Covered Courts||Great Britain||GBR||5T|
|1908 Summer||32||London||Tennis||Great Britain||GBR||Round One||Match #3||AC||1908-05-08||Wallenberg (SWE) won by default, Coles (GBR) DNF|