No one, for example, has won more men's singles grand slams than Federer's 17. Nadal is the lone player to claim the French Open nine times and when Djokovic captured the Australian Open for the fifth time in February, he matched Federer's Open Era haul.
Djokovic tied the Swiss again Sunday in another category when he beat his 33-year-old rival 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-2 for a fourth title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Federer, too, owns four Indian Wells trophies.
It was a landmark 50th title overall -- he surpassed his coach Boris Becker's tally of 49 -- and in a few weeks Djokovic will overtake Nadal and move into sixth spot in weeks at No. 1.
Djokovic told CNN after his triumph in the California desert that there was no 'secret' to his consistency.
Talent, hard work and having Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray around -- Murray is the other member of the Big Four -- have led to the Serb becoming one of the sport's all-time greats.
'Obviously there are a lot of sacrifices that have to be made,' said the eight-time grand slam winner. 'Hard work, commitment to the sport. It all starts with you at the end of the day because it's an individual sport. You need to be able to put in all these hours on the court and off the court, understanding what makes you better.
'I think the four of us guys who have been dominating the men's side for the last seven, eight years have been moving the borders and raising the standards of the performance of the play and making each other better players, making each other improve, so that's something that's always in the back of my mind -- the awareness that everyone is working as hard as I do.
'But I believe that a positive approach in life definitely helps, keeping the right balance between the private and professional life and obviously loving the sport. Loving every minute of it.
'And making sure that even when you have bad days you understand why you are doing it, for a greater purpose.'
Djokovic became a dad late last year -- and has spoken openly about how much he loves it.
His wife Jelena and son Stefan were with him in Indian Wells during the tournament, the first time they've traveled together on the tennis tour as a family. Djokovic even brought their two dogs along.
'It's the best celebration I can ask for, being next to my boy, my wife, next to the people I care about,' Djokovic said. 'They've been a huge part of my life and success. I don't take anything for granted. Their presence, the family and friends, the people in my team, they all really sacrificed a lot of their lives and invested their energy in order for me to win this tournament, live this dream and to keep on going.'
Djokovic was cruising in Sunday's final, up a set and a break, but was pegged back when Federer rallied to force a second-set tiebreak.
Serving at 5-4, Djokovic surprisingly struck two double faults in a row.
He recovered, however, to overcome Federer for the second year in a row in the Indian Wells final, last year's edition culminating in a third-set tiebreak.
'Last year right until the last point you didn't know who was going to take it,' Djokovic said. 'This year I had a set and a break. I could have done the job earlier.
'Roger showed again why he is a great competitor, great champion, why he's one of the best in the history of the sport. Coming back and fighting through, the crowd got into it a little bit, and we got into a third set. From that moment on it could have been anyone's match but I held my nerves, played the right shots at the right time and I'm very pleased about the win.'
Despite the defeat, Federer put in another solid tournament.
Since being upset by Andreas Seppi in the third round at the Australian Open, he won a title in Dubai -- beating Djokovic in the final -- and maintained the momentum in Indian Wells.
'I had a great run, a good start to the season, and wished and hoped I could have won,' Federer was quoted as saying by the ATP's website. 'Novak was tough and he played very well. He deserved it and I will respect that.'
Federer is giving this week's Miami Open -- like Indian Wells, it's one of the biggest tournaments outside the grand slams -- a miss, opting to play his next event on clay in Monte Carlo in mid-April.
Read: Federer topples Djokovic in Dubai
Djokovic was cruising in Sunday's final, up a set and a break, but was pegged back when Federer rallied to force a second-set tiebreak. 'Roger showed again why he is a great competitor, great champion, why he's one of the best in the history of the sport. Coming back and fighting through, the crowd got into it a little bit, and we got into a third set. From that moment on it could have been anyone's match but I held my nerves, played the right shots at the right time and I'm very pleased about the win.'