Originally Posted by TMF
Tilden was the best player on the amateur tour but Emerson was also the best player in the amateur. Tilden turned pro only a few years after the pro tour was established, and there's only a handful of players in the 30s. There isn't much to brag about him being #1 during the pro because there wasn't much competition(lol). Whereas Emerson would have a much tougher time had he turned pro when the field was much deeper/stronger in the 60s.
I normally don't agree with Dan but this time he's 100% correct. Listing number of titles doesn't say about the weight of individual achievement. Because in that case, (Connors, Lendl) > (Federer, Sampras, Borg, Nadal) simply because they have more single titles. Makes no sense.
The amateur tour had all the top players in those days so it was essentially Open Tennis. Tilden dominated in those days like no one has since and that's very important.
Number of titles is an indicator but not the end all however it is important. If you eliminate the number of titles you make only the majors count for everything and the tour is mostly not about the majors. Lendl won WCT championships and Year End Masters for example.
Tilden played tours against Nusslein, Perry, Vines and Budge and while he did not win most of them, it is an indicator of his great strength, even at a late age. He did very well against VInes for example and defeated Nusslein. He was close to fifty when he played Budge and had a relatively respectable showing of seven wins, forty-six losses and 1 tie considering his age. Many of the matches were pretty close according to accounts.
Even in the early years the Pro Tour had Cochet, Vines, Tilden, Nusslein among others playing and that's excellent.