The daughter of a Kent farmer & fruit grower, tennis was in the Colesâ family blood for over a century. Mildred Coleâs 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 dÃ©but 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 Swedenâs [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|