Originally Posted by Benhur
I doubt the players took these tours as exhibitions, or that they were even referred to as exhibitions. Here is a newspaper article from the summer of 1939 announcing a "Professional Tour" in Australia involving Tilden, Budge and Vines.
If it were true that people would stop buying tickets unless Tilden won, then they would have done so, since Budge won the vast majority of the matches in that tour (about 46-7 according to the Wikipedia article). I don't think players viewed those tours as they view exhibitions today.
It's the same with today's exhibitions, in a best of 3 match the players will deliberately split the first two sets then fight it out for real in the third.
In the same way, Budge wouldn't have let Tilden win the series, but he was happy to let him win enough to keep the tickets rolling in.